I have spoken about this for a long time as it is a disaster that is almost guaranteed to bankrupt the country and many other countries around the world.
It is clear that at the current rate of healthcare costs, plus the changing age of most western countries, plus the huge growth in people getting sicker, younger, that we have a monumental economic problem coming within the next 20 years.
Putting it simply: 15% of the population (those who are well and who are of a working age – and paying taxes) cannot pay for 85% of the health costs of everyone else. Even with 50% tax rates it is not enough money. And that tax has to be split up and allocated to roads, police, firemen, parliament etc as well…
In 2011, our healthcare bill was $13 billion.
It grows substantially every year.
In 2013, a Treasury report said New Zealand’s publicly funded spending on healthcare had more than doubled as a share of GDP over the past 60 years.
If this trend continues (and the evidence is that it is exponentially growing – much faster than anyone has predicted), then spending will rise from 6.9% of GDP in 2009 to 10.7% in 2050. I can confidently predict it will be much higher than that; just factor in the growth of obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and lifestyle cancers across all western countries in the last five years. The numbers are clear.
The bottom line is that Britain, the US, Australia, Canada and New Zealand need to seriously, immediately and dramatically address rising healthcare costs.
What are the diseases that are costing so much money and are spreading like wildfire through the populations? Modern lifestyle diseases such as obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure and lifestyle cancers.
“The question of personal responsibility is very problematic. When I was young, something like 60% of people were smoking. Now, that’s down to less than 20%. Britain had given far too much emphasis to centring care in hospitals. We are increasingly realising in the UK that we have overdone that, and need to shift care back more to the home and community setting and to put patients in the driving seat.”
Sir Malcolm Grant, chairman of NHS (National Health Service) England, May 2014
A Massey University survey of 32 health experts participating in the Southern Cross conference on healthcare affordability, found the biggest perceived barriers to change were political. Our parliamentarians are simply failing to grasp issues, ignoring others, and being unwilling to promote unpopular solutions.
The numbers always tell the cold hard truth; in Britain the NHS funding is limited to the inflation rate of around 1%, but demand for healthcare costs are growing at 4%. That is 300% higher growth in healthcare needs that are not being funded for.
How is that going to be paid for when demand already outstrips supply, people are not getting the healthcare they need, people are getting sicker younger, and yet the demand is growing even faster still?
How do the economics of all of this work? The answer is that they do not work, the numbers do not stack up and there is really big trouble coming in the next 20 years as millions of people get modern lifestyle diseases and we cannot even remotely deal with them all.
Prevention is the cure; the cure is prevention.
Prevention starts with a plant-based wholefood diet and healthy lifestyle changes.
Statistics from a Sunday Star Times article by Rob Stock on May 11, 2014.
Full article here: http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/health/10028462/NZ-healthcare-costs-rising