Opening the flood gates

I’m not referring to the 5 inches of rain forecast to fall in the Golden Valley area over the next couple of days.  I’m talking about Medicare and Medicaid enrollees. 

The Congressional Budget Office estimates 16 million people will become newly covered under Medicare by 2020.  Source: The Commonwealth Fund.  If you work in health care, the information above should provide you some degree of job security.  If you work in health care, the information above should worry you.

There is no doubt that the impending influx of baby boomers on the Medicare system will tax providers and the manner in which the system is able to respond may be decided in 2012 rather than 2020.

Our current health care system is unsustainable, there’s no question, but in an economy like ours that is starting to emerge from hibernation, current and future cuts to Medicare may not only slow the current economic recovery but they may affect our ability to meet the needs of the 20 million new Medicare recipients in 2020.

Over the past few years the one sector of economic strength in our society has been health care.  Hospitals have continued to hire at a moderate pace and they have continued to invest in facilities and equipment.  What other sectors can say as much?

Facility and technology investments today pay dividends in future years.  If current, and planned, Medicare cuts prevent hospitals from continued investment in staff and facilities how will they be able to absorb an influx of new patients?

I don’t have an answer but its a question we need to ask of our legislators.  When our country was formed our greatest strength was our ability and desire to look to the future.  We built our country on what we needed it to be in the next decade and the next century, not what we wanted it to be tomorrow.  There’s a big difference between needs and wants.

As a society our desire to attain immediate gratification has put us in a hole that has been difficult to dig out of.  We are at a crossroads and we must decide if we want to dig a deeper hole or begin the slow deliberate task of filling the hole one shovel full at a time. 

So often decisions are made around election cycles, its time we adjust our thinking and make decisions based on life cycles just like our forefathers did over 200 years ago when they drafted a constitution that works as well today as it did many lifetimes ago.

About Craig Thompson

I am a young professional with two great sons, and I work in the healthcare setting. I am employed in hospital administration and serve as Chief Operating Officer at Golden Valley Memorial Healthcare in Clinton, Missouri. These are challenging and exciting times in healthcare and my blog will focus on healthcare, raising boys or being raised by boys, and living in mid America.
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One Response to Opening the flood gates

  1. Lesli says:

    Excellant point!

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