Why the elderly are against health reform

One of the storylines in the health reform debate is how the Medicare population is fighting the current reform efforts.

It’s ironic, in a way, since if the status quo continues, fiscally sustaining current Medicare benefits will be a near-impossibility.

In his regular column, The New York Times’ Ross Douthat provides some insight as to the mindset of the Medicare recipient. He says, rightly, that, “At present, Medicare gives its recipients all the benefits of socialized medicine, with few of the drawbacks. Once you hit 65, the system pays and pays, without regard for efficiency or cost-effectiveness.”

When reformers talk about savings, it “sound[s] a lot like ‘cuts'” to the elderly, and hence, their apprehension. Arguments that many of the tests and treatments can be reduced without sacrificing quality of care will not resonate. With the prevailing mentality equating better care with more care, any attempt to introduce serious cost-saving measures will meet a determined resistance from the American public.