Next year, the first wave of the baby boomer generation will turn 65, and over the coming two decades, 77 million Americans will enter their senior years. Almost 70 percent of those turning sixty-five will require some long-term care assistance before they pass, and 20 percent will need it for more than five years.
After the fear, misunderstanding, and confusion that exploded over the summer of 2009 regarding the nonexistent death panels in health care legislation, health reform has opened the door and made it easier for our nation to have the difficult discussion surrounding long term and end of life care preferences.
Joanne Kenen, the Health Policy Program's Senior Writer, explores the provisions in the Affordable Care Act that expand seniors' options and awareness of the choices they have for medical and long-term care during their last years of life.
“Health reform does not solve all of the problems by any means,” Kenen explains, “but it begins to shift the kind of health care system we have and address the needs and the desires of the elderly and the disabled and the frail by giving them more choices and creating … a system that actually listens to patients.”