Obamacare’s Impact on Seniors: An Update



Spinoff thread from:


There are two questions here. One is whether Obamacare is doing the right thing by seniors. The other is what is the “right thing”?

As for the first question, I don’t have a strong opinion one way or the other. As for the second question, I think we as a society have a responsibility to provide some level of care for the elderly when they become unable to care for themselves. But what that levels is can be debated. There is no doubt that health care in the last year of a person’s life statistically costs much more than at any other time in their life. This is often due to extraordinary efforts meant to prolong life - efforts that would not have been possible a few decades ago. I think it is proper to limit society’s responsibility to provide extraordinary care to the elderly - things like hip replacement surgery for someone who has little chance of surviving the surgery, and even less chance of recovering enough to actually use their new hip. But standard care, like antibiotics to fight infection, radiation for cancer, etc. should be made universally available for as long as God allows that person to continue living.


In addition, to these concerns over Medicare and its relationship to Obamacare, another concern of mine is that, if the government is providing all health care, then they will also be able to determine which heath care services we will be able to receive. Since it is not only our money, the government will have to make a cost-benefit analysis about the coverage and will be able to say whether or not we can receive a treatment we need. This could be especially horrible for seniors or the terminally ill, who might not be deemed worthy enough of treatment and therefore recommended instead for euthanasia.

See here, to the story of the poor Stephanie Packer, for clarification of what I am saying:


May God bless you all! :slight_smile:


You bring up some good points that point to problems in our health care system.

In a Medical Sociology course I took in the 90s, we read the book MAMA MIGHT BE BETTER OFF DEAD. An elderly poor woman discussed in the book ended up with enormous health costs the last 6 months of her life (diabetic, double amputee), but if she had been given the right care a decade or so earlier, then she would have lived longer, had a healthier life, and it would have cost our society much less.

So what we really need is a single payer, medicare-type of insurance (including medi-gap) for everyone. And make sure all get help to help them be as healthy throughout their lives as much as possible with preventive programs. This does not have to be free, and if people can’t pay the, say, $200 or $300 a month premium, then the gov can step in and help.

Just get rid of all other health programs like the ones we have at work and go with a medicare/medigap program for all.

That will also make our corps much more competitive on the world market, since they won’t have to be paying part of employees’ medical insurance.


I am going to cautiously agree with you here (hey there’s a first for everything ;)).

I was recently volunteering in a hospice and ended up overhearing the family of a catatonic patient and the palliative care doctor talking about what she was taking and the related costs. I asked the doc and nurses later on what some of the drugs were and what they did and it seemed like a never ending cycle of one keeping one thing functioning, but needing something else to counteract the side effects. In counteracting the side effects it would cause a dysfunction somewhere else and on and on. The doc said it is often a sort term gain that costs multiple thousands to extend a person’s life for a handful of months and they are often miserable while being kept alive.

To be honest I don’t know that there is a hard cut off, but I do think that we, as a society, have to recognize that life follows an inevitable course. We are born, we live, we die. Nothing we do will change that last outcome. We can delay it, but the grave waits for all of us. Not that I think anyone thinks we are immortal, but rather that they see death as something to be avoided in any and every way possible. I think it is a fine line between bolstering a system in dysfunction and trying to stave off natural death. I figure at the point that I can’t remember why I have to take the blue pill so that the red pill doesn’t kill me that perhaps the time has come to accept that God might have other plans for me.

For me it is not so much the question of cost vs outcome as it is man trying to hold off what God has ordained. I just don’t know where the line is drawn for those who don’t feel the same way. What responsibility do we have to heal people versus prolonging their life beyond it’s natural design. I guess for me it would depend on if it’s a disease or simply old age/infirmity that someone is fighting against.

Being in the hospice and seeing what palliative care for the dying is, helped me understand that we can have compassion and reduce someone’s pain while accepting that death is a natural process. I reject the idea that we should be able to die when we want ala Euthanasia, but I also think that we have to be open to the though that keeping a failing heart beating for a year, two, or five must be balanced against what God designed. He has His reasons why he made it so that we all eventually wear down and I hope I can accept that my time on Earth is dictated by Him and do not spend my last years fighting against Him to eek out a few more months or years.

While it sounds morbid, I have told my kids even in my early 40s that we don’t know how long we have so let’s enjoy what He gives us and not mourn for time that was not ours to promise.


Not to pull this too far off topic, but nothing you state has any guarantee to make us “more competitive” by reducing costs. When I worked at a hospital, government payment (medicare/medicaid) cost us more to collect and we got paid much less than we did from private insurers. We also had to float the expenditures for longer periods since it took ages to get paid from the fed versus days or weeks with private insurance.

The thought that somehow having a single payer system will reduce employers cost seems to leave out the question of where those funds will come from. The cost doesn’t simply disappear, but rather instead of health care premiums there would be higher taxes for either the corporation or the employee. Unless the government starts making providers work for free in government facilities those cost are simply shifted into different buckets.

The only way it would reduce the cost is if there is greater efficiencies or lower use of high cost interventions. If it follows the current medicare/medicaid schema then it would likely increase costs while lowering medical providers payments so the current way of “single payer” would not fix it on efficiencies. There is the possibility that better preventative care could lower costs by treating things earlier, but that does require that people use it. We cannot force people to go to the doctor so without an incentive to have people keep healthy before they have no choice we cannot say that free preventative care is a panacea. Unfortunately most people are pig headed and refuse to acknowledge that they are harming themselves. You can just ask my wife how long it took me to accept that feeling lousy for many years was 90% the result of my poor decisions.

That is not to say that some form of that wouldn’t work, but I think it is simplistic to say we just need X and Y without addressing flaws and limitations in similar systems we already have in place.


There is no way I’d trust the government with this…if [when] the Democrats regain power, they could solve the Social Security insolvency problem by killing off all the SS recipients…


FWIW, just last week my father was just sent home from the hospital to hospice care at my brother’s house where he had been living before his recent bout of treatments for an persistent infection in a prostetic hip. He was not getting better in the hospital despite repeated extraordinary (and expensive) efforts. He was miserable and prayed for death. Now that he is home again he is so happy, seeing his grandchildren visit, eating better. And I am very happy for him too, even though I realize he may die soon. He lived a long and happy life, and hospice care seems very appropriate now.


Thanks for sharing that. While my parents are still relatively healthy I do remember my grandfather going in and out of the hospital a dozen times in the last year of his life. It became an emotional roller coaster where he never felt at peace. He finally just said, STOP and asked to be made comfortable but to let him go to the Lord. He died a few days later at peace with it.

While I know we don’t always agree (though we rarely argue) I pray that the Lord give your father and your family strength and I’ll offer prayers to St Joseph that you father be granted a happy death if that be God’s will for him.


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