Senior citizens are increasingly sicker, but living longer at others’ expense


On June 10, 2015, the USA Today printed a front-page feature article about the health of America’s seniors. The story reported that “15 % of seniors account for nearly half of Medicare spending.” And one amazing fact stood out: The seniors of today are generally sicker than predecessors, measured by numbers of illness diagnoses. Fully two-thirds of Medicare beneficiaries over 65 “have multiple chronic conditions.”

And these increasingly sicker senior citizens are living longer than their predecessors, due to medical advances. And costs are poised to soar into the stratosphere. “The average elderly patient with five or more chronic conditions . . . sees 13 doctors and fills 50 prescriptions in a year.” According to Johns Hopkins University’s Gerard Anderson, just 10,000 seniors were responsible for $1 billion in Medicare spending in 2010.