Older Americans Concerned There Aren't Enough Physicians, Nurses for Future Healthcare Needs

Janice Simmons, for HealthLeaders Media , September 9, 2009

More than half (55%) of individuals age 50 or older who were questioned in a new survey conducted a few days ago by AARP, the American Medical Association (AMA), and the American Nurses Association (ANA) do not think enough physicians or nurses will be available to support their healthcare needs in the future.

In addition, the same percentage said they were very concerned health insurers would not pay for medical treatment or prescription drugs for them—or someone they know. Overall, those answering the survey reinforced the idea that despite scare tactics deployed this summer on health reform, many think that "the current health system is not sustainable and has to be fixed," said Nancy LeaMond, AARP's executive vice president, at press conference announcing the results on Wednesday.

Using considerably stronger language from earlier this summer, Nancy Nielsen, MD, AMA's immediate past president, said, "This summer, the rhetoric on health reform boiled over at times and it was often more heat that light."

She said AMA was joining with AARP and ANA "to urge Congress and the president to build on the national conversation" and "work fearlessly in the face of fear-mongering" to achieve "meaningful" health reforms this year.

The poll is a reminder that "the status quo isn't acceptable," Nielsen said. "We shouldn't lose sight of that as this debate heats up and the reset button gets pushed. What we want is to build on what works and fix what doesn't work."

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