Rick Moody calls it like he sees it in the latest edition of his newsletter The Soul of Bioethics (click to sign up):
Aging Boomers are in trouble as they face their retirement years. Epidemiological studies suggest that Boomers’ health status is worse than preceding cohorts. Given trends in obesity and other indicators, their future health status could be much worse. Moreover, Boomers, not yet eligible for Medicare, are the one group who could gain the most from health care reform: for example, by preventing insurance exclusion for pre-existing conditions. One might think that Boomers would also be pleased that the Affordable Care Act has extended the life of the Medicare Trust Fund from 7 to 19 years by “bending the curve” of growth in future Medicare spending.
Yet Boomers, like today’s seniors, do not like health care reform. According to a recent Gallup Poll there is a dramatic split in attitudes toward the Affordable Care Act. By 50%-30%, those under 30 support the law, but those 50-64 years old favor repeal by an almost equally wide margin. Seniors have even more negative attitudes. In an article in THE AMERICAN PROSPECT, editor Paul Starr (“The Republicans Senior Moment”) noted that a Gallup poll last in June found 60 percent of those over 65 saying adoption of reform was a “bad thing,” while 57 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds and a plurality of other age groups said it was a “good thing.” In this fall’s campaign. The 2010 elections showed the impact of such attitudes. While the young still favored Democrats, the old swung massively to the Republicans, voting for them by a 21-point margin, 59 percent to 38 percent, with older voters turning out in much larger numbers than the young.
What about aging Boomers and their prospects? In a May, 2010 a Pew Center survey showed that 57 percent of baby boomers said their financial situation had deteriorated since the recession began in 2007. Pew concluded that Boomers “are finishing up their working and saving years just after home values dropped, global stock markets tumbled, and the US unemployment rate doubled. It has all been a wake-up call for those who haven’t been saving enough for retirement, financial planners say.”
A key element in the financial status of Boomers in years to come will be protections put in place by the Affordable Care Act, which still faces threats as some in Congress advocate repeal. Unless Boomers, and others, come to understand what is at stake here, their future could be even worse.