7. Yes, aging baby boomers will need acute care. But how much? This generation isn't the type to be content lying around in hospital beds at the rates of prior generations. They will do more research about their conditions and question medical authority more. And they will be better managed outside hospitals.
Last week, a survey in the Archives of Internal Medicine, found that 42%of primary care doctors "believe that patients in their own practice are receiving too much care," that is, too many referrals and too many tests, and only 6% said patients are receiving too little. About 28% said they are practicing more aggressively than they would like.
8. As for those 32 million people who lack health coverage. Remember, most of them are barely accessing the healthcare system now. And if they are, it's an inefficient and more expensive service, they're getting at best. And in theory, much of it will be avoided with earlier, more preventive care.
Besides, I don't believe that healthcare reform will prompt them to charge into hospitals to make up for lost time. Coverage should help them stay healthier.
You might argue that hospitals should keep those beds and even expand capacity to be ready in the event of an epidemic or disaster. Good point.
But remember that in the wake of the 9/11 attacks and the threat of H1N1, pandemic planners have been busy preparing to adapt schools, theaters, and even cruise ships to handle casualties outside of hospitals. During a crisis, a hospital may not even be the safest place to go.