The Aged and Resource Allocation
McCarrick, Pat Milmoe
Two different sets of statistics are increasingly linked in the literature about health care resources in the United States: the demographic aging of the American population and the steadily rising cost of health services. Persons 65 years of age and over made up 9.2% of the population in 1960 and 12.3% in 1990; this figure is projected to increase to 20% by 2020 as the baby boom generation becomes 65 (II, Sonnefeld 1991). Within this group, the percentage of those over 85 years of age (whose average health costs are six times higher than those for someone 65 years of age) will double from 3 million in 1990 to 6.1 million in 2010 (II, Samuelson 1992). The cost of health services in 1990 reached $661 billion dollars, or 12.6% -of the Gross National Product (GNP). This is “twice the proportion of 1965 and the highest GNP proportion for any developed nation”(III, Rich 1990). If health costs continue to rise at the present rate, health spending could reach 18% by the turn of the century (II, Samuelson 1992).
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