How should society care for the elderly?

Question: How should society care for the elderly?

Robert Butler: Well, we are not well prepared. #1, the baby boomers in particular are very poorly prepared. They have only about 40,000 dollars in their 401Ks. They are going to have work longer. There is no escaping it. Otherwise, they are not going to have a full stomach at night. The society as a whole is not prepared. We don't have doctors well prepared to take care of old people. No one is really facing the music and solving social security. The healthcare system is still an awful mess and confused and fragmented with [Inaudible] incentives. We don't have an adequate hospital system that is safe. People get sick and mistakes get made everyday in American hospitals. So, we have a lot to do and we are not well prepared for the baby boomers and the baby boomers are not well prepared for their own old age.

Question: How do we fix it?

Robert Butler: I have a controversial view that it would be nice to end the private health insurance system and to have more of the European type system because they only spend 10% of their GDP on healthcare. We spend 16% and out of every dollar that we pay for health, we are actually paying about 20% for claims adjustment, for profits, for marketing, for shelling, not for the actual delivery of healthcare. So, we have got a real job to do in patching up this healthcare system.

Recorded on: Mar 17 2008

We are not prepared financially, Butler says.

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