Happy New Year Health Care System: Are You Ready For The Boomers?


Originally published 1/1/11 on The Doctor Weighs In

Today is not only the first day of the New Year (Happy New Year everyone), it is also the first day that the very first Boomers hit 65.   There are 79 million of us and we will be blasting our way into Medicare with our usual self-absorbed focus on getting it all…for ourselves.  Just in case you have forgotten, we are the generation that believed we could consume drugs with abandon and have sex whenever and with whomever we felt like – all without consequences.   Sex, drugs, and rock n’ roll.  So much fun, while it lasted (think Woodstock, not Altamont).

We are also the generation that believed you couldn’t trust anyone over 40, but now that we are going to be Senior Citizens, I am sure we will cook up some new slogans that are better suited to our age – you know, something like, “if its worn out, replace it” (think knee, hip, shoulder) or “if it’s sags, is flabby or wrinkled – lift it, suction it, or  fill it”  –  rejuvenation is only an operation away.  We are Boomers and we’re gonna live forever – or damn near – and by the way, we’re going to look as close to our 20 year old selves as we can – and,  maybe, we can even figure out a way to get Medicare to pay for it.

We’ve spent a lifetime eating Big Macs and slurping Cokes.  We ate too much, drank too much, partied to hard, and worked out too little.  And YOU (our working generation friends) are going to pay for it.

We are still taking lots of drugs, but now it is Lipitor, Cozaar, and Metformin instead of LSD, cocaine, and mescaline.   Our arteries are harder than they used to be and other parts of our anatomy are softer – all fixable with drugs.  We are entering our peak years for heart attacks, strokes, arthritis and other ailments that will test our patience (and make us patients).  But we aren’t worried, because there are drugs, drugs drugs. (Thank God for Medicare Part D.)

Now that our health care is going to be subsidized, we are going to want it all. MRI for back pain, yes!  Antibiotics for my cold, why not?  ER visits because I want to, you bet!  Medicare A and Medicare B – are you ready?  Because, ready or not, here we come!  Boomers rock!

Happy New Year American Health Care.

Patricia Salber MD, MBA is a physician and Principal of Zolo Health Solutions in Larkspur, CA.

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