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Friday, April 27, 2012

Baby Boomer Power - Who's On Their Side Now?

The country is full of baby boomers. In fact, 28% of the US population is baby boomers. Baby boomer is the term used to describe the babies born after 1945, the year that World War II ended.

So from 1946 to about 1957, there was a phenomenal increase in births in North America and so the term “baby boomer”.

The speculation has been that the men who had served in the war were now so happy to return home to their wives and this is what sparked the increase in births during those years. According to Wilkepedia.org, the increases begin to fall somewhat toward the year 1960 when G.D. Searle & Company released “The Pill”.

Enovid was the world’s first birth control pill and the FDA had approved this drug in 1957 for use in menstrual disorders and then approved it in 1960 as a contraceptive.

The baby boomer generation has been described in many ways, but a couple of particular descriptions that stand out in my mind concerns their values. They have been described as “questioning” and “enthusiastic for causes”. This explains the fact that many of the baby boomers that were becoming eligible for the mandatory draft into the army and consequently the Vietnam War that began in 1959 initiated protests to the war and the draft.

According to the documentary “Thirteen Seconds, The Kent State Shootings”, on May 4, 1970 at Kent State University in Ohio, students staged a protest of the American Invasion of Cambodia and the re-institution of the draft the year before. The Ohio National Guard began shooting into the student crowd firing a total of 67 bullets for thirteen seconds. They killed four students, injuring nine others.

The New York Times on this date further reports that this “Kent Massacre” as some called it, prompted the closing of hundreds of universities, colleges, and high schools due to the eight million students who went on strike because of this incident. The draft ended in 1973 and the war ended in 1975. This was the first of many clearly defined, quality of life statements that the baby boomers would make in their lifetime.

David Nielson in an article posted on howstuffworks.com makes an interesting observation concerning the baby boomer generation. He notes that it was this same baby boomer generation that fought the women’s movement, the civil rights movement and many other injustices in this country.

Again fitting the description of “enthusiastic for causes”, the baby boomers seem to continue their fight for their rights when it comes to good healthcare. Reuters.com published a newswire on March 5, 2009 stating that the over 70 million baby boomers approaching old age could overwhelm the health care systems in this country.

The report states that at least 62% of aging boomers report having at least one of six chronic health conditions: arthritis, high cholesterol, cancer, diabetes, heart disease and hypertension. To compound the problem, hospitals are showing a decline in capacity, which leads to hurried care. This is because the current system of medical reimbursement actually rewards providers for delivering more care –not necessarily better care.

Yes, the baby boomers have lived a life of enthusiasm for justice, vigor for cause and equality for all. We all have benefited from many of the powerful protests and campaigns for change that they have fought. But now that they are aging, sick and tired, is there anyone who will fight for their healthcare rights with the same vigor and vim?

It was a pharmaceutical company that put an end to the boomer generation with their “Pill”? It’s the pharmaceutical companies now that have control over the prices of the medications that the baby boomers need to stay alive.

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