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Opinion: How Medicare fails the elderly

The New York Times, October 17, 2011

Here is the dirty little secret of healthcare in America for the elderly, the one group we all assume has universal coverage thanks to the 1965 Medicare law: what Medicare paid for then is no longer what recipients need or want today. No one then envisioned the stunning advances in medicine that now keep people alive into advanced old age, often with unintended and unwelcome consequences. Indeed, scientific reports have showed the dangers, not merely the pointlessness and expense, of much of the care Medicare is providing. Of course, some may actually want everything medical science has to offer. But overwhelmingly, I've concluded in a decade of studying America's elderly, it is fee-for-service doctors and Big Pharma who stand to gain the most, and adult children, with too much emotion and too little information, driving those decisions.