Merrily Orsini's Thought Leadership

Help Me Understand This

Sometimes, when there’s a difficult concept to grasp or a difficult decision to be made, it helps to go back to the basics. Start with what you know. For many of us, particularly lifelong learners, and the young, a picture – or a hands-on experience – truly is worth a thousand words. Compare trying to understand Newton’s universal gravitation constant equation at face value (Fgrav = G*m1*m2/d2, where G = 6.673 x 10-11Nm2/kg2) with witnessing a 3D model in a science museum that demonstrates exactly what this concept looks like in the real world.

It seems that understanding, and agreeing upon, the best healthcare plan for our nation has become such a convoluted process that perhaps looking at it from another, more basic angle could help. And there’s one angle that it seems everyone is missing altogether: simple demographics.

And demographics do not lie. Unless we have a pandemic or some widespread disaster that changes life as we know it, the projections are seemingly accurate.

Picture, for example, you provide a service to 100 people, and that group swells to 1,000. Will you be able to continue providing the same level of service to those additional 900 people, at the same cost, or does it stand to reason that the expenses associated with providing your service will grow accordingly? You’ll either need to cut your level of service to 1/10 of what you were providing, or increase your expenses by 900%.

In the real world, demographics show us that Baby Boomers are turning 65 at the rate of 10,000 per day. In 13 years, the last of the Boomers turn 65, and the oldest are turning 84. By age 84, many people are in need of some type of care or assistance with activities of daily living. Now imagine what it’s going to take to ramp up home care or other essential services to meet this burgeoning wave of elderly – and add to that picture the fact that there’s no safety net of care for them.

Help me understand why, when planning for the healthcare of a nation, NO ONE is looking at the demographics? And what’s it going to take to make sure the voices of those slated to be most impacted by this plan are heard? I seriously want to know.