My best guess is that most current talk about the future of long-term care (LTC) and post-retirement health care costs is a little beside the point.
I think that medical research will advance rapidly, if we continue to have the kind of rich, high-tech world that can sustain private insurance markets. Scientists will find ways to prevent or cure Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and many other conditions that have plagued people in old age and sharply reduce the need for expensive LTC services.
But, what if I’m wrong, the professional forecasters are right, and the costs escalate?
And what if a lot of the aging baby boomers have a hard time finding jobs as discount store greeters, and they really do have to retire?
What happens then, when we’re living in the middle of the Long-Term Care World economy?
Yesterday, I was shopping at a bookstore and noticed that there were many more books about reincarnation and vegan cooking than about economics.
In the books about economics, few referred, even briefly, to insurance, pensions or any other form of long-term private or government saving. Some authors talked about long-term plans for spending, but never for paying for the spending.
One book, for example, “Governing the Economy: The Politics of State Intervention in Britain and France,” mentioned old-age pensions and health insurance exactly once, in a section on British social welfare benefits. The author never talked about how the British government thought it was going to pay for the benefits it had promised.
Paul Krugman, a Nobel Prize winning economist, makes budget hawks angry by writing in columns in The New York Times that budget deficits don’t matter.