Chronic conditions such as arthritis, heart disease, kidney disease, respiratory and especially diabetes has driven up costs of medical care for the elderly. Four of the five conditions above have a significant relationship to the lifestyle choices we make. Throw in the lifestyle choices related to many cancers and you can see that we are paying an enormous costs for many of our poor lifestyle costs.
In an article in the magazine of the American Diabetes Association the problem is outlined this way:
"The diabetes population and the related costs are expected to at least double in the next 25 years. Without significant changes in public or private strategies, this population and cost growth are expected to add a significant strain to an overburdened health care system."
Finally when you are talking about chronic illnesses the fragmentation of our health care system becomes a major spending and health care issue. The Healthcare Financial Management Association explains it this way:
So is there a solution to the solvency of Medicare? Like every other budget issue it comes down to slowing costs, cutting benefits or raising revenue (i.e. taxes). With our present uncoordinated care system of health care controlling the cost increase will be next to impossible without some type of rationing which is politically difficult. That leaves the option of benefit reduction by most likely raising the age of eligibility (to 66 or 67) and raising the Medicare tax. Unfortunately we all know how likely that compromise is with the current Congress.