BABY BOOMERS: May Overwhelm California Health Care System
"California is not ready" to meet the health care needs of the wave of baby boomers who will start retiring in 2010, experts told a panel of state lawmakers yesterday. The academics told the legislators from the Senate and Assembly subcommittees on aging and long term care that "the state does not have enough health care professionals trained in geriatrics, or a plan to replace income taxes lost from retirees." Assemblywoman Elaine Alquist (D-Santa Clara), who co-chaired the hearing, said one problem "is the lack of state educational requirements in geriatrics for workers such as doctors, nurses and occupational therapists." The expert panel also noted that there may be too few "caretakers in the younger population to serve the larger elderly population." Fernando Torres-Gil, former assistant secretary for aging at HHS and now at the University of California-Los Angeles, called for a campaign to educate elementary school students about aging issues to "minimize generation tension." The Sacramento Bee reports that yesterday's hearing was the first stemming from a partnership formed last fall with the California Council of Gerontology and Geriatrics to bring together politicians and academics. Referring to the looming changes, state Sen. John Vasconcellos (D-Santa Clara) said, "It shouldn't be traumatic if we're smart about anticipating it" (Hoge, 2/3). Click here for previous CHL coverage of baby boomers' health needs.This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.