Fundamentals Briefing

Health Policy Essentials: Aging in America: Trends in Income, Health, and Personal Health Care Spending
April 12, 2013


Carol V. O'Shaughnessy, MA


The concerns about federal budget challenges and swelling deficits inevitably center on the nation's largest entitlement programs, with the Medicare program front and center. As policymakers consider changes to entitlement programs, they cannot help confront the aging of America, made so evident by the pending retirement of 76 million baby boomers. The elderly population is a heterogeneous group and many factors—not just age alone—play a role in a person's economic status and well-being. While some elderly enjoy better health care and economic status than previous generations, others have not shared in these overall improvements. This Forum briefing provided essential information on the heterogeneity of the elderly population, in terms of demographics, income, health status, and personal health care spending, to help inform the debate about federal budget options.


Introductory remarks by Sally Coberly, PhD

Elayne J. Heisler, PhD (bio)
Analyst in Health Services
Domestic Social Policy Division
Congressional Research Service

Gretchen Jacobson, PhD (bio)
Associate Director
Program on Medicare Policy
Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation

Related Materials

In 2015, a new version of the Forum's Health Policy Essentials series was conducted; please see its briefing book here.

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