Fall 2010

h e a l t h   p r o m o t i o n
Canadians concerned aging baby boomers will impact quality of health care


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On August 23, 2010, the CMA released its 10th Annual National Report Card on Health Care in Canada assessing the attitudes of Canadians regarding their experiences with the health care system.

by CMA Staff

On August 23, 2010, the Canadian Medical Association released its 10th Annual National Report Card on Health Care in Canada. The report card uses public opinion data gathered by Ipsos Reid to assess the attitudes of Canadians regarding their experiences with the health care system.

The report card, which was released during the CMA’s annual meeting in Niagara Falls, is based on an online poll that surveyed 3,483 Canadian adults in June. It focuses on access to health care services and shows that young-adult Canadians are bracing for increased health care costs in the future.

The survey found that a vast majority (80%) of Canadians are concerned that the quality of health care in Canada will decline due to the strain on the health care system caused by an aging baby boomer generation. Another 73 per cent of Canadians said they feared they will not have enough money to maintain their health as they age.

The majority of Canadians (85%) also agree that the rising challenges brought on by the aging baby boomer generation is an indication that the time is now for federal/provincial/territorial governments to begin negotiating a new health care funding agreement.

“We know that as people age, they require more health care services and right now, there is a very real worry that unless it is significantly transformed, our health care system will not be able to meet the needs of future generations. This report sends a clear signal to decision-makers. Canadians want an open dialogue on the tough issues in health care and they want it to start now,” said outgoing CMA President Dr. Anne Doig.

The survey also revealed a clear generation gap developing in relation to health care issues. The results show that younger adults are much more likely than baby boomers to prepare themselves for increased health care costs. Specifically, the poll found Canadians under age 46 were more likely to be prepared to buy long-term health insurance and to buy health care insurance to supplement public health care coverage in their retirement.

A greater number of younger adults are also more likely dip into their planned retirement savings to help pay for their own future health costs, to alter their retirement plans by working longer or traveling less and to save specifically for health costs they will face during their retirement. They also speculated they may go into debt to pay for their health care costs as they age.

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