What if medical technology continues to succeed in significantly prolonging the human life span? What are the implications for health care economics? I believe our medical technology will continue to achieve some kind of level of life extension, but I am not sure that the human life span will extend more than 120 years. That being said, however, any kind of extension of the human life span can have significant negative impacts on our health care system. According our text book: We may succeed in postponing deaths from heart disease, cancer, or stroke. But what happens if we live long enough to get other diseases?
The same preventive measures can have, as an unintended result, increased rates for the chronic conditions such as dementia, diabetes, hip fracture, and arthritis (Roush, 1996). That means that we may able to treat one kind of illness, but by doing so, we are actually increasing the chances that more people will suffer from other illnesses – illnesses that they may not have gotten otherwise. For this reason, our health care system will need adjustment, because the current health care system will not be able to catch up to cover increased incidences of the kinds of chronic diseases mentioned.
From an ethical standpoint, we must also consider the implications that this may have on quality of life. It must be noted, that increasing the life span could create an even larger imbalance among generations than already exists with the aging baby-boomer population. It is impractical and unrealistic to expect a much smaller and less affluent younger generation to be able to cover the rising costs associated with an aging generation that is not only larger than itself, but that keeps growing due to medical procedures and technologies that prolong the life span.
Deficits in the current system will only grow, and this can lead to a lowered standard of care that could potentially harm people, and would definitely reduce the quality of life that we are supposed to be bettering by extending the life span. 2. What are the major sources of retirement income among older people today? How have sources of retirement income changed over the last several decades? We have learned that there are three components that act as our primary sources of retirement income, such as social security, private pensions, and individual savings and other assets that yield income (Moody, p. 146).
However, this is among people who are currently working, and not yet retired. Sources of retirement income are varied among different generations of people, mostly due to the increasing population of baby-boomers who have reached or are approaching retirement age (Moody, p. 200). Most older people rely more heavily on social security than other types of retirement income, and with so many recent scandals in the business world (i. e. , Enron, Ponzi schemes, etc.
Ppeople have seen their pensions and work-related retirement plans completely disappear, which will naturally make them turn to social security as well. In addition to these incidences, our economic situation has changed dramatically, and many people who felt their retirement income was secure have lost money on investments, or lost their jobs which has forced them to take money out of their retirement savings accounts to pay for everyday expenses right now.