Discussion: Ethical Issues With an Aging Population
According to the CDC, “in the United States, the proportion of the population aged >65 years is projected to increase from 12.4% in 2000 to 19.6% in 2030,” (CDC, 2003, para. 2). Caring for this aging population is going to be one of the greatest challenges facing the health care industry. Not only will the number of individuals requiring care rise, but so will the cost. As poignantly stated by Crippen and Barnato, “unless we change the practice of medicine and reduce future costs, and explicitly address the ethical dilemmas we face, there may come a time when our kids simply cannot afford us”
In this Discussion, you will examine the ethical issues that the United States and other nations must address when faced with the health care challenges of an aging population.
- Consider the ethical aspects of health care and health policy for an aging population.
- Review the Hayutin, Dietz, and Mitchell report presented in the Learning Resources. The authors pose the question, “What are the economic consequences, now and for future generations of taxpayers if we fail to adapt our policies to the changing reality of an older population?” (p. 21). Consider how you would respond to this question. In addition, reflect on the ethical decisions that arise when dispersing limited funds.
- Contemplate the impact of failing to adjust policy in accordance with the changing reality of an older population.
- Reflect on the ethical dilemmas that arise when determining expenditures on end-of-life health care.