National Health Care kills up to 2,000 Children a Year in Britain

Posted by PITHOCRATES - July 13th, 2013

Week in Review

Opponents of nationalizing health care say it will only lead to doctor shortages, a lowering of quality and rationing.  Proponents of Obamacare say that’s absurd.  For with government in charge of a large health care bureaucracy things can only get better.  Not worse.  Just look at the NHS in Britain (see British child death rates are ‘a major crisis’, says paediatricians’ leader by Yvonne Roberts and Denis Campbell posted 7/13/2013 on the guardian).

Five children die unnecessarily every day of conditions such as asthma, meningitis and pneumonia because NHS care for young people is badly organised and dangerously inadequate, the leader of Britain’s 11,000 specialists in children’s health warns.

About 2,000 children a year lose their lives because of an array of problems, which means the UK has some of the worst death rates among children up to the age of 14 in Europe, the president of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health told the Observer. Branding the situation “a major crisis”, Hilary Cass said in an interview that sick children were at greater risk of dying because some GPs lacked paediatric skills, expertise was absent in too many small paediatric units, and there was a serious shortage of consultants. The college believes a lack of senior paediatric doctors is so acute that the safety of treatment cannot be guaranteed at every unit. Cass urges the NHS to instigate radical changes in how it treats children, including a centralisation of hospital services to reduce preventable deaths…

Her concerns are supported by the royal college’s new medical workforce census, a major biannual study among the UK’s 11,000 paediatricians to investigate the pressures on them. It identifies problems such as:

■ Sharply rising demand as more children contract non-communicable diseases such as asthma and obesity.

■ A chronic shortage of consultants, especially when hospital units are busiest.

■ Worryingly wide variations in the number of consultants in different parts of England, with 48 per 100,000 children aged 0-15 in London, but just 27 per 100,000 in the east of England.

Imagine that.  In the NHS where the government is in charge of a large health care bureaucracy there are doctor shortages, a lowering of quality and rationing.  Guess the proponents of Obamacare are wrong.  As moving American health care in the direction of British health care is wrong.  Unless loosing 10, 0000 children a year is okay with you.  (The U.S. has about 5 times the population of Britain.  So one would multiply their 2,000 deaths by 5 to approximate the U.S deaths we can expect with a government run health care system.)

If the left really cares about the children then they should repeal Obamacare.  For it could save up to 10,000 children a year.  Unless the left hates children.  Which they must if they don’t repeal Obamacare.  Because we can see where Obamacare can lead to by simply looking at what’s happening in Britain now.


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The NHS rations Emergency Services in Wales because of a Doctor Shortage

Posted by PITHOCRATES - May 25th, 2013

Week in Review

The opponents of national health care say it will lead to doctor shortages.  And the rationing of services.  Because the costs of health care will continue to rise as the population ages.  Which will require stretching limited resources to cover a growing number of seniors entering the health care system.  Just as fewer young people are entering the workforce to pay for them.

Fewer people working means less tax revenue.  While health expenditures rise due to that aging population.  The health authority will have no choice but to cut costs.  And that means paying doctors less.  Which will, of course, discourage people from becoming doctors.  Leading to a doctor shortage.  Is this just conjecture?  Not quite.  It’s an observation of what’s happening in the United Kingdom as the NHS struggles with a doctor shortage (see South Wales specialist hospital care plans to be revealed by Owain Clarke posted 5/22/2013 on BBC News Wales).

Health officials believe some services are spread too thinly and should be centralised in four or five hospitals instead.

They include accident and emergency and care for premature babies and children…

They argue that the changes are essential to ensure hospital care meets UK-wide professional standards and to deal with issues such as a shortage of doctors, an ageing population and financial pressures.

This is what we can expect under Obamacare.  And whatever Obamacare evolves into.  For the U.S. already has an aging population.  And financial pressures.  All they need is for the government to start cutting costs and they’ll have a doctor shortage, too.  And then the U.S. will begin to centralize emergency services into fewer hospitals.  Just as the British are doing.  As their doctor shortage causes them to ration their emergency services.  Just as the opponents of Obamacare say will happen in the United States.  Just as it is happening in the United Kingdom.  Because this is the inevitable destination of national health care.  Doctor shortages.  And rationing.


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The NHS is Rationing Health Care to give Everyone the Same Quality of Health Care

Posted by PITHOCRATES - May 18th, 2013

Week in Review

We have Obamacare because there was a crisis in American health care.  Or so said the proponents of national health care.  Not everyone had equal access to the same high-quality care some people had.  The opponents of Obamacare said a quasi-national health care system wouldn’t change that.  All it would do is stretch limited resources over more people.  Ultimately reducing the quality of care for everyone.  Like in the NHS.  Where they are closing emergency departments in south Wales because they don’t have the resources to staff them all at the same level (see Wales NHS: Abandon south Wales A&E shake-up, say Conservatives posted 5/14/2013 on BBC News Wales).

The NHS is due to announce a cut in number of specialist A&E departments in south Wales from seven to four or five.

Officials say the current range of services can no longer be provided safely at all hospitals.

They say the planned changes, due to be unveiled this month, will result in the most seriously ill patients seeing consultants more quickly, although they may have to travel further.

Hospitals across Wales have said they have faced “unprecedented” levels of admissions this spring, with A&E consultants warning their departments are at “meltdown” due to overcrowding and a bed shortage…

Speaking on behalf of the health boards involved in the South Wales Programme, Dr Grant Robinson, medical director of Aneurin Bevan Health Board, said: “We cannot continue to provide all these services in every location across south Wales.

“We need to concentrate these services to ensure all patients receive safe and sustainable care.

The NHS is national health care.  Where they provide free health care to all of their people.  But to do that some people will have to travel farther than others.  Because they just don’t have the resources to have the same specialties at all hospitals.  Not when their aging population is consuming so much of the NHS budget.  Just as an aging population will consume the majority of the Obamacare budget.

National health care works better when you have a population growing younger.  When there are more people entering the workforce than leaving it.  So there are always more people to pay the high costs of retiree benefits.  But thanks to birth control and abortion populations are aging everywhere.  Making the national health care model simply unsustainable.

These nations set up their entitlement states before birth control and abortion shrank future generations.  Not really a problem in a nation with a limited government.  But a big one in a social democracy.  For that falling birthrate not only undermines the sustainability of national health care.  It also undermines state pensions.  And public sector union benefits.  Which include generous health care and pension benefits.  None of this will survive as the consumers of these benefits grow at a greater rate than those paying for these benefits.  Which will lead to higher tax rates on a shrinking workforce.  Or anarchy.  As people take to the streets as the government simply can no longer give them their benefits.

This was really not a good time to nationalize health care.  A blind person could have seen this.  But the proponents of national health care pushed for it anyway.  Even while the NHS is struggling under the weight of an aging population.  Proving that Obamacare is more about power politics than health care.  Or that those who gave it to us are just not that bright.  Whichever it is there is one thing for certain.  We would want neither to be in charge of our health care.


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If Obamacare will be anything like the NHS first there will be Higher Taxes then there will be Rationing

Posted by PITHOCRATES - April 7th, 2013

Week in Review

There is no such thing as a free lunch.  We’ve all heard this expression.  And we know what it means.  Vendors buy customers lunches to get more business.  And customers know whatever they get ‘free’ from a vendor is included in the price they pay for their products or services.  So nothing is free.  Just other people pay for things you get to enjoy.

A lot of people thought national health care was free health care.  Which is why they want it.  Because they can’t stand paying even the co-pays on the high cost of health care.  But by nationalizing health care those high costs don’t go away.  Because doctors and nurses just don’t start working for free.  No.  We pay for free health care by nickel and diming everyone everywhere we can (see Taxes heat up battle against ‘Obamacare’ by Tom Howell, Jr., posted 4/3/2013 on The Washington Times).

A tax on everything from X-ray machines to oxygen tanks took effect at the beginning of this year — one of about 20 taxes and fees included in President Obama’s health care law — and has emerged as the central battleground in the fight by the law’s opponents to repeal parts of the president’s overhaul…

The device tax is one of several that kicked in this year, along with higher taxes on investment income and an increase in the Medicare payroll tax among households making $250,000 per year. Taxes and restrictions on flexible savings accounts, health savings accounts and health reimbursement arrangements are also starting to bite.

The tax penalty imposed on those who refuse to obtain health coverage will kick in next year, with a minimum penalty for low-income individual taxpayers of $95 in 2014, rising to $325 in 2015 and $695 in 2016. Those with higher incomes will end up paying more because their penalty is based on a percentage of their income — 1 percent in 2014, 2 percent in 2015 and 2.5 percent in 2016 and beyond.

And still looming later this decade is a 40 percent excise tax on high-value “Cadillac” health insurance plans, which will not debut until 2018.

The health care law’s $1 trillion in revenue raisers also includes niche targets, such as a 10 percent assessment on indoor tanning services…

…the health insurance tax, an annual fee that taxes health insurance providers relative to the worth of the insurance premiums they collect each year.

They will tax us every chance they get.  Because ‘free’ health care is more costly than the kind you pay for out of pocket.  Because when it’s ‘free’ you will use it more often.  “If it’s free it’s for me.”  And because the consumption of health care resources will rise so will all of these new taxes as they scramble to find a way to pay for this ‘free’ health care.

A lot of people no doubt draw some comfort in the fact that the rich will pay the majority of these taxes. But all of these taxes will eventually filter down to the average American as businesses raise prices to cover these taxes.  And those “Cadillac” health insurance plans?  They’re just not for rich people.  Very sick people often spend a fortune on these plans to reduce their overall costs of their treatments.  Which means the 40% tax on these plans will make these plans unavailable to them.  Causing great upheaval in their lives as they transition from their private plan and doctors to the state plan and doctors.

Eventually the costs will grow greater than all this new tax revenue.  As it has in the United Kingdom.  Where they have had to turn to cost cutting, consolidation of health care clinics and hospitals, longer travel distances to see a health care provider, longer wait times, rationing and denials of health care treatment.  Because their ‘free’ health care grew so costly with their aging population that they just can’t treat everyone.  Patients sometimes have to wait an hour or more for an ambulance.  And wait another hour or more at the hospital before a bed opens up for them so they can be unloaded from the ambulance.

And then there’s the Liverpool Care Pathway for the Dying Patient.  A quasi death panel.  Basically unplugging a patient to let them die with dignity.  Sometimes without telling the patient’s family about this hospital decision.  Where critics say it’s more about freeing up limited health care resources than about dying with dignity.  Especially with a costly and aging population.

So this is our future with Obamacare.  As the government takes over health care taxes will rise further.  And quality will fall.  As they try and stretch those limited resources to cover more and more patients.  Especially with a costly and aging population.


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Canada looking at Rationing Health Care for Senior Citizens to Reduce Costs

Posted by PITHOCRATES - March 17th, 2013

Week in Review

Proponents of national health care in the U.S. have long pointed to Canada and said, “See?  That’s the way you do health care.”  While critics say national health care will only lead to longer wait times.  Poorer quality.  And rationing (see Health ministers look to cut back on pricey diagnostic tests by Adrian Morrow posted 3/15/2013 on The Globe and Mail).

The provinces are also looking at ways to cut back on pricey diagnostic tests and surgeries such as MRIs, knee replacements and cataract removals. After consulting with health-care professionals, they hope to draw up a series of voluntary guidelines, to be presented this summer, on when such procedures are necessary and when they can be skipped…

The greatest cost pressure on the system, however, may be the demographic shift and the steady rise in the number of senior citizens requiring chronic care…

Most of the new model involves finding ways to keep seniors out of hospital. Ontario, for instance, is pumping money into providing more home care. Manitoba is looking toward preventive medicine. Saskatchewan is reviewing ways to improve long-term care. Nova Scotia has a system where paramedics treat some ailments in long-term care facilities to avoid tying up hospital beds.

Britain is also working on a way to keep seniors out of hospitals.  And they have a plan for those who do get into their hospitals.  If they’re really sick and need a lot of expensive health care.  They withdraw all medical care and nourishment.  They call it the Liverpool Care Pathway for the Dying Patient.  Something that let’s really sick patients die with dignity.  Or so the program says.  Family members who lost a loved one because he or she was placed on the Liverpool Care Pathway without their knowledge see it differently.  Some even have called it a death panel.  Because it results in more deaths.  Which helps the bottom line.

Obamacare will have some kind of death panel, too.  With bureaucrats being introduced into the medical decision-making process.  Who will consider the bottom line when making their decisions.  And one thing that helps the bottom line in national health care is death.  For dead people don’t need pricey diagnostic tests, surgeries, MRIs, knee replacements and cataract removals.


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The NHS to implement a Patient Satisfaction Survey to reverse a Trend of Falling Quality Levels

Posted by PITHOCRATES - January 6th, 2013

Week in Review

Obamacare is just a stepping stone to national health care.  For the American people don’t want national health care.  Unlike the American Left.  So they plan to implement national health care with baby steps.  With Obamacare being step one.  And when they arrive at full blown national health care here is something we can expect (see GPs should be subject to patient satisfaction tests, says David Cameron by Patrick Wintour posted 1/3/2013 on the guardian).

GPs should be subject to regular patient and staff satisfaction tests in the same way as has already been proposed for hospitals, David Cameron has announced.

A “friends and family” test, in which patients and staff are asked whether they would recommend a service, is being introduced into every hospital in England from April, and the prime minister says the principle should be extended to GPs’ surgeries, district nursing and community hospitals.

Cameron and the health secretary, Jeremy Hunt, have identified standards of compassionate care provided by nurses and other staff as a safe issue on which the government can campaign after the political disaster of its health reforms last year. The move follows examples of appalling treatment of patients by some staff in high-profile cases, especially involving elderly patients.

Hunt is also leading a drive to improve the treatment of dementia, which is taking up increasing NHS resources…

Cameron said: “We still have a long way to go to raise standards across the NHS and get rid of those cases of poor and completely unacceptable care that blight some hospitals and homes.

Dementia rates are exploding both in the UK and in the US.  Why?  Because we’re living longer.  For dementia was more rare when we died in our sixties.  Now that we’re living well into our eighties and beyond we’re living long enough to come down with a whole slew of expensive diseases.

Not only are we living longer but we’re having fewer babies than we once did.  The British are having far fewer babies than when they originally set up the NHS.  Which is why they’re having so many financial problems these days.  A declining birth rate means a declining tax base.  Meaning less tax revenue.  To pay for all those baby boomers living longer into retirement and coming down with all of those expensive diseases.  Fewer people entering the workforce paying taxes and more people leaving the workforce who stop paying taxes while consuming all those health care resources.  That is, an aging population.  Which means longer wait times and service rationing.  And appalling treatment of a growing number of patients.  Just like in the NHS.  As we will see for ourselves in Obamacare.  Or whatever Obamacare evolves into.


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Bad Health Care in Obamacare will be as Inevitable as it is in the NHS

Posted by PITHOCRATES - December 29th, 2012

Week in Review

As Obamacare kicks off in January what can we expect from the greatest overhaul of the American health care system?  A step towards national health care?  Well, the best way to understand what’s in store for us is to look at a populous nation with national health care.  The UK.  Which has only 1/5 the population the US has.  Where bad health care in their National Health Service (NHS) is, to quote someone from the UK, inevitable (see Bad care is inevitable in the NHS by Harry Mount posted 12/24/2012 on The Telegraph).

… the appalling neglect of 38 patients at the Alexandra Hospital in Redditch is the logical result of the NHS’s untenable management structure.

Imagine if everything at Tesco’s [a British grocery and general merchandise retail store like Wal-Mart in Europe, Asia and North America] was free but rationed, and subject to delivery delays of several months. Then throw in the fact that there are no other free alternatives. You would have a nightmare on your hands – huge queues, attracted by the free goods, then further stretched by the long delays.

Imagine how the staff would then behave – harrassed by the limitless demand of customers, but also in a tyrannical position of monopoly power, because there is no alternative provider. They can be as rude as they like, knowing that the customer has nowhere else to go; knowing that, without their services – food in the Tesco’s case, life-saving healthcare in the case of NHS – you will die.

On top of all this, imagine that the government ran Tesco’s, with absolutely no previous skill or experience in running supermarkets.

This is not to say that the people in the NHS are bad.  It’s just that when you put good people in bad situations they tend to lose their empathy.  Because they are forced to deal with the shortages and rationing on a daily basis.  And are powerless to do anything about it.  For this is national health care.  Trying to do more with less.  The costs of caring for their aging baby boomers are overwhelming the NHS.  As the baby boomers have left the workforce and no longer pay income taxes.  And who are now consuming the lion’s share of their limited health care resources.  Less revenue.  And more costs.  A recipe for disaster.

This is the future of American health care.  Only with 5 times the population the shortages and rationing will be 5 times worse.  And if we ask someone who knows a thing or two about national health care what they think Obamacare will be like we can guess their answer.  Bad health care in Obamacare will be inevitable.  For if the British can’t negotiate the aging population problem at a 1/5 scale what chance do the Americans have at trying their struggling system at full scale?  It’s a recipe for disaster.  Heavy on the disaster.


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Canadian Doctors have to Shut Up or the State won’t let them be Doctors Anymore

Posted by PITHOCRATES - December 8th, 2012

Week in Review

Proponents of Obamacare wanted more than what they got in Obamacare.  They wanted a single-payer system like in Canada.  Where they know how to do national health care right.  Where everyone gets whatever they need.  And patients, doctors and nurses live happily ever after.  Just like in a fairy tale.  And they do.  In the minds of those in the United States.  But that’s not quite how it is in Canada (see Doctors urged not to sign ‘muzzle’ contracts posted 12/5/2012 on CBC News).

The New Brunswick Medical Society is urging doctors not to sign any contracts with the province’s regional health authorities because they contain a gag order…

The medical society spoke out on the issue in June, accusing the regional health authorities of trying to muzzle doctors in an effort to avoid public criticism and embarassment…

Existing physicians will begin to reapply for their privileges in the January. If doctors protest the new bylaws by not signing, the medical society says they could start losing hospital privileges and possibly even their billing numbers, as soon as the spring…

Critics have suggested the bylaws are a push-back following some public challenges.

Doctors in Saint John have recently spoken out against the decision to allow Canadian Blood Services to remove some of its services from New Brunswick.

They were also vocal about a lack of access to operating rooms. And, the doctors loudly opposed the government’s initial position to deny Saint John a high-resonance imaging machine called a 3T MRI.

You see, national health care is not the utopia those who want it think it is.  Health care is expensive.  But when it’s free at the time of treatment people like to use as much of it as they can.  Which causes a problem.  Especially when you have an aging population.  Which most advanced economies have.  Including Canada.  The Canadians are having the same problem the British have.  And the same problem the Americans will have under Obamacare.  They have more people consuming health care resources than they have paying for them.  Which calls for budget cuts.  Longer wait times.  And rationing of services.  As well as indifferent attitudes to the falling quality as the doctors and nurses are overworked, underpaid and increasingly left with less of a say in how things should be.

Now the state doesn’t like anyone telling them that they are doing a bad job.  First of all their job isn’t easy.  Doing more with less.  Second, those in power feel a bit elitist.  And their egos don’t take kindly to criticism.  So when they’re in a position to do something about it they do.  Which is the great tragedy of national health care.  When the state pays the bills the state can pretty much do whatever they please.  For where else are those doctors going to work?  Crossing the border into the United States isn’t much of an option anymore.  For Obamacare will even push doctors around more.  If you don’t believe that just ask a US doctor about his Medicare reimbursements.

So this is our future under Obamacare.  Which will be sort of like Medicare.  Only with longer wait times and rationing.  And unhappy doctors.  Who will, too, probably sign gag orders.  Because once the government takes over health care, where else are they going to work?


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The Long Wait Times and Rationing of the NHS will soon be coming to Obamacare

Posted by PITHOCRATES - December 2nd, 2012

Week in Review

Today it’s the NHS (see NHS cracks ‘beginning to appear’ by Nick Triggle posted 11/28/2012 on BBC News Health).

The King’s Fund review – dubbed a mid-term report for the coalition government – raised concern about A&E [accident and emergency departments] waits and finances…

The NHS has been asked to make savings of about 5% annually in the coming years, at a time when demands are rising…

A&E waiting times have risen since 2009, although still remain within the target of 95% of patients being seen within four hours, the report said.

It also raised concerns about the growing number of emergency admissions among the elderly and those with long-term conditions.

And the report flagged up the increasing number of NHS trusts facing financial difficulties.

King’s Fund policy director Anna Dixon said: “There are huge risks, particularly in ensuring that quality of care does not suffer with the further financial squeeze.”

Shadow health secretary Andy Burnham said there were already signs of this, claiming services, such as cataract surgery, were being rationed.

He said evidence Labour had gathered showed an estimated 52,000 people were being denied treatments, leaving them in “pain and discomfort”…

Health Minister Lord Howe suggested many of these pressures were related to the ageing population.

Tomorrow it will be Obamacare.

Longer wait times (a 4-hour wait in an emergency room is an acceptable waiting time).  Financial problems.  Rationing.  Denial of treatments.  All courtesy of an aging population inundating emergency rooms with elderly patients.

Welcome to national health care.  Welcome to Obamacare.


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Cost Pressures in the NHS cause Ambulances to Wait for a Half Hour or more to Unload their Patients at a Hospital

Posted by PITHOCRATES - November 18th, 2012

Week in Review

National health care is very expensive.  And it’s more expensive if your population is aging.  Which the British population began doing after the inception of the National Health Service (NHS).  So fewer people were paying for more people as time went on.  Making it very difficult to provide health care for everyone.  As the population aged further the British had to ration service.  And increase wait times.  As the cost pressures of an aging population weighed heavily on the NHS.  Struggling under these cost pressures, the NHS had no choice but to make massive budget costs through increased efficiencies.  Looking for some £20 billion ($31.8 billion) in savings.  How has that worked?  It’s turning police cars intro ambulances (see Shocking state of the NHS: Half a million patients forced to wait 30 minutes on trolleys before admission to A&E by Jo Macfarlane and Brendan Carlin posted 11/17/2012 on the Daily Mail).

The number of seriously ill patients forced to wait more than half an hour on trolleys and in ambulances before being admitted to accident and emergency has rocketed by up to 300 per cent in just 12 months.

Figures uncovered in an investigation by The Mail on Sunday reveal mounting delays for 999 patients at hospitals across the country as casualty units struggle to cope with Government cuts and the closure and downgrading of other A&E wards.

Nearly half a million patients brought into casualty by ambulance last year were left for half an hour or more in vehicles or in corridors before they were officially admitted.

Several hundred waited longer than two hours. Guidelines state that patients should be handed over to A&E staff within 15 minutes of arrival at a hospital…

Most trusts said the number of patients waiting more than 30 minutes had soared by an average of  25 per cent in the past year.

But in the North East the numbers increased by 294 per cent, and in London by nearly 50 per cent…

‘The long waits are bad news for patients and for ambulance crews who are stuck outside hospitals where they are unavailable for new emergency calls.

‘The Government needs to think about the consequences of their demand for £20 billion in so-called efficiency savings from the NHS because the result is clear – patients are suffering.’

In London, one of the worst affected areas, campaigners are warning that the situation will get worse if proposals to close eight A&Es are approved, sending patients to already-struggling departments elsewhere. The London Ambulance Service revealed that 42,248  patients waited outside hospitals for longer than 30 minutes during 2011/12 – a rise of 47 per cent in 12 months – and 10,053 waited more than 45 minutes.

With ambulances stuck at hospitals for 30 minutes or more to unload their patients the police have been picking up the slack.  Some transporting people after waiting for an ambulance that never arrived.  Or being called upon to respond in the place of an ambulance.  Because all ambulances were parked at some hospital with a patient in back waiting for admission into an A/E department.

So this is the ultimate future of national health care.  Budget cuts, rationing and long waiting times.  And ambulances parked at hospitals with patients in back waiting for a half hour or more for admission.  This is what Obamacare will give us.  Or whatever Obamacare will evolve into.  For when it comes to national health care few can do it as well as the British.  So if the masters of national health care are having such difficulties so will some new young upstart when they enter the world of national health care.  Who also has an aging population.  So if you think things are bad now remember these times well.  For they will soon be known as the good old days.


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