One of the main roles of government is wealth redistribution. In the U.S., the single largest group to benefit from wealth redistribution is the elderly; however, Fortune cites a paper from the Brookings Institute, stating that the elderly are one of the two groups that “have most moved against income redistribution” since 1978. The study claims that on the surface 40% of this is actual in their self-interest (being unconvinced that things like universal healthcare won’t disrupt Medicare) — but that still leaves 60% of the vote going against their self interest. Perhaps the elderly are just a little more altruistic than the rest of the population.
If you’re a member of AARP, here’s at least one thing your dues are going to support: late Tuesday the Senate voted 98-2 in favor of a bill which rewrites how Medicare pays doctors for treating over 50 million elderly people. The primary purpose of the bill was to annul a 1997 law aimed at slowing Medicare growth that has led to threats by doctors to stop treating the program’s beneficiaries. AARP CEO Jo Ann Jenkins says, the elderly can “rest assured that they’ll be able to keep seeing their physicians each year.” Joining the AARP, the American Medical Association also provided strong backing for the bill.
That’s not one in ten around the world — that’s one in ten right here in the U.S.A. And it’s not acceptable. Worse, signs of such abuse in senior citizens can be very hard to notice. It’s not all cuts and bruises; senior abuse can be subtle, and may be something other than physical abuse. There may be emotional, financial, or other less obvious abuse occurring. The Neighborhood Extra provides some insights into what to look for, and what to do if you suspect something. Make sure the elders you care about — and even ones you may just meet casually — are getting the respect and treatment they deserve.