Geriatric America: 13 percent of US workforce now employed by healthcare industry. Healthcare inflation out of control.

Like most industrialized countries the United States has a large number of people entering into old age.  The baby boomer generation is living longer and just because life expectancy is extended, this doesn’t mean people are healthier if we measure quality of life.  We have a major problem with obesity and all the implications that come from that.  So it is no surprise that 13 percent of the US workforce is now employed by the healthcare industry.  How big of a change is this for our economy?  It is big and signifies a 44% increase from 1991.  Consider hot sectors like nursing homes, ambulatory services, and hospitals as growth industries.  You also have a plethora of pharmaceutical companies to cater to this new older population that in many cases, barely has enough money to survive in retirement.  Inflation in healthcare services is also out of control.

The booming healthcare industry

It is rather telling that our nation has replaced manufacturing jobs with healthcare and financial service sector jobs.  It isn’t all that surprising given the demographic shifts occurring.  But the troubling impact is that many older Americans simply do not have the money to pay for these higher healthcare expenses.  Programs like Medicare are getting milked just like federal student loans assist in inflating college tuition.  The financial sector is more than happy to raid the funds of Americans on the back of government subsidies.  This connection between the financial sector and industry is part of the corporatracy that has taken hold where politicians are paid large amounts of money simply to do the bidding of these organizations.

First, take a look at healthcare employment:

healthcare employment

The percent of our workforce now employed by the healthcare industry is up to 13% and signifies a 44% increase from 1991.  What is problematic with this change is the amount of money that is now flowing into this segment of the economy:

healthcare inflation

Healthcare spending is out of control and is fully disconnected from the overall inflation rate.  What this means is that households are spending more of their disposable income on healthcare.  The chart above is reflected in insurance rates and overall healthcare costs.  The increase is dramatic:

“(BLS) Since January 1997, consumer prices for inpatient services increased 195 percent and prices for outpatient healthcare services increased 200 percent. This compares with an increase of 50 percent for all items over that same period. As a whole, consumer prices for medical care have increased 98 percent since January 1997. Over the same period, consumer prices for prescription drugs have doubled, while prices for nursing homes and adult day services have more than doubled.”

This runaway inflation is a bad thing considering that older people are a growing segment in our economy and unfortunately, their balance sheets don’t look healthy at all.  The end result is going to be a heavier burden on already stretched households at a period in life where naturally more health issues occur.

It is no surprise then that Americans get bilked by the financial system as they exit life as well.

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3 Comments on this post

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  1. Jim said:

    Great reflection, I am a boomer 68 and the med market is crazy. Went to see family doc lower back pain, referred for cat scan, sent to spine specialist, who refered me to pain specialist who sent me to pain therapist. Who is paying for all that, who knows what this costs and it is another indicator of something not good going to happen soon. All these med job do not produce wealth in this burning tower of Roman decline.

    June 2nd, 2016 at 7:36 am
  2. roddy6667 said:

    The American healthcare system is first and foremost a machine to make money. Healthcare is secondary.

    June 4th, 2016 at 10:28 pm
  3. jr233 said:

    and with all the legislation, the aca and other bills. not one thing was done to consolidate costs,no cost savings, none.
    but new codes costing millions to train and comply with, more mandates on care,see a problem instead of finding a solution gov requires more forms,reports and the providers get in more trouble over paperwork than actual patient harm. and i seems to have slowed i was tired and finally refused to fill out and send a form to some 3rd party asking personal and medical questions about my care to me it just added cost and gave a stranger info on my health i could possibly see at the conclusion of care but it was every time i had something done. as for fraud seems like medicare waits until the billing get into multi millions before investigating long after a insurance company would have caught the fraud.

    June 17th, 2016 at 7:29 am

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