One of the greatest costs to Medicare and one which presented the most difficult moral issue facing the American health system on the eve of Obamacare was the growing number of persons with dementia As lives lengthened, one 2010 study estimated that almost 15% of those over 70 suffered from some form of dementia. The annual cost to families and society as a whole was estimated annually at between $31 and $56 thousand dollars for each individual with a total cost of between $157 and $215 billion.
In the post-Obamacare era, these two elements of the total medical picture may assume the greatest importance. The obvious necessity to make “co-pay” a part of the Medicaid commitment, even for the poorest recipient, would appear part of any solution. An increase in the 20% of Medicare which now must be paid by the insured may well be necessary to refinance that system. But neither will be easy for an electorate, promised so many freebies by Obamacare.
Growing obesity and other manifestations of the American lifestyle presented an even greater challenge – and will continue to do so – in any effort at prevention rather than treatment. That is going to demand a mobilization of public opinion long after the squabbles over Obamacare are historical footnotes.
Hopefully in a more realistic environment occasioned by Obamacare’s demise, reason and common sense will prevail. And, as always, scientific breakthroughs may be around the corner, particularly for Alzheimer’s. [British scientists announced such a breakthrough in October 2013 in experiments with rats although they cautioned application to humans would be some time off.]
But there again tightened budgets, in no part the result of the Obama Administration’s campaign against competition and the traditional concept of equal opportunity [rather than Pres. Obama’s redistribution of wealth for guaranteed equality] would be the touchstone.