This is from a NBER Working Paper by David Cutler, Kaushik Ghosh, and Mary Beth Landrum:
Health status in the year or two just prior to death has been relatively constant over time; in contrast, health measured three or more years before death has improved measurably…We show that disability-free life expectancy is increasing over time, while disabled life expectancy is falling. For a typical person aged 65, life expectancy increased by 0.7 years between 1992 and 2005. Disability-free life expectancy increased by 1.6 years; disabled life expectancy fell by 0.9 years. The reduction in disabled life expectancy and increase in disability-free life expectancy is true for both genders and for non-whites as well as whites. Hence, morbidity is being compressed into the period just before death.
HT: Timothy Taylor.
Most Americans are now aware of the disastrous rollout of ObamaCare health-insurance exchanges for privately insured people. However, this has sidelined discussion of the pain that ObamaCare is inflicting on Medicare beneficiaries.
On November 16, The Wall Street Journal reported that UnitedHealth Group has dropped thousands of doctors in at least ten states from its Medicare Advantage networks. This is a consequence of the federal government’s cutting payments to Medicare Advantage plans ― by $156 billion over ten years ― to fund ObamaCare. Earlier this month, Evan Gahr of the Daily Caller wrote an article describing how plans nationwide are shrinking, and citing a report by consultants at Avalere which projected reduction in Medicare Advantage plans, especially in rural areas.
And it isn’t easy:
Detroit’s emergency manager, Kevyn Orr, has announced that to return the city to solvency, effective Jan. 1, he will stop providing coverage to 8,000 retirees under age 65. Instead, they will receive a $125 monthly stipend to use toward private plans from the exchange. (Spouses and dependents don’t get anything.) The hope was that the Affordable Care Act’s subsidies would kick in for unmarried retirees making from $11,490 to $45,960 and married retirees making from $15,000 and $62,040 annually, the cutoffs for eligibility.
The stipend combined with the subsidies would allow the city to slash its unfunded health-care liabilities — which are about a third of its total debt — and most retirees to obtain coverage with minimal out-of-pocket expenses. It would be a win-win for all, except maybe for federal taxpayers, who would be on the hook for the ObamaCare subsidies.
The hitch is that the Michigan exchange, like many of the 35 others run by the federal government after the states refused to build their own, has been beset by glitches. Enrolling has been a nightmare, although some reports suggest that “navigators” — trained professionals who help consumers navigate the website — have been having some luck in the last few days. Even if consumers manage to enroll, however, it’s unclear they will actually get coverage given that the exchange reportedly isn’t providing accurate enrollment information to underwriters. (Shikha Dalmia)
Studies of elderly people and social isolation concluded that those without adequate social interaction were twice as likely to die prematurely.
The increased mortality risk is comparable to that from smoking. And loneliness is about twice as dangerous as obesity.
Social isolation impairs immune function and boosts inflammation, which can lead to arthritis, type II diabetes, and heart disease. Loneliness is breaking our hearts, but as a culture we rarely talk about it.
Loneliness has doubled: 40 percent of adults in two recent surveys said they were lonely, up from 20 percent in the 1980.
All of our Internet interactions aren’t helping and may be making loneliness worse. A recent study of Facebook users found that the amount of time you spend on the social network is inversely related to how happy you feel throughout the day.
Source: Jessica Olien at Slate.