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Chapter 11. Age and Health Inequalities. Chapter Outline. The Structures of Aging and Health Care Age Differentiation and Inequality Explanations for Age Stratification Health and Health Care The U.S. Health Care System. Status of Young People.

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chapter 11

Chapter 11

Age and Health Inequalities

chapter outline
Chapter Outline
  • The Structures of Aging and Health Care
  • Age Differentiation and Inequality
  • Explanations for Age Stratification
  • Health and Health Care
  • The U.S. Health Care System
status of young people
Status of Young People
  • People under age 18 are assumed to be too immature to make appropriate life decisions.
  • Rate of teen unemployment is very high.
  • Disproportionately represented in crime and accident statistics.
status of people 65 and older
Status of People 65 and Older
  • People are living longer and, on the whole, remaining healthy as they age.
  • Many will suffer loss of income as they age especially if they are single women or in a minority group.
  • Discrimination in hiring and employment based solely on age is not legal, but it happens.
status of people 65 and older1
Status of People 65 and Older
  • Older people are more likely to vote and some groups represent the concerns of older people.
  • Ageist stereotypes can harm the elderly.
  • Social integration tends to decline as we age.
theories of age stratification
Theories of Age Stratification
  • Structural Functional - Older people disengage for good of self and society.
  • Conflict - older people are excluded so that senior positions open up for younger adults.
  • Modernization - status of older people has decreased because traditional bases of power have eroded.
modernization theory
 Modernization Theory

Reasons older people have low status in modern societies:

  • The accelerating pace of technological change favors the young.
  • Declining importance of tradition-based resources—such as land.
  • Their relatively low productivity.
gender and health
Gender and Health
  • Women live longer than men, but report more health problems.
  • Men are more likely to die at a younger age in spite of their good health.
social factors and male health
Social Factors and Male Health
  • The male role encourages risk talking that can end in accidents.
  • Men are less inclined to take care of their health than are women.
  • Men are more likely to die of stress-related diseases like heart attack and stroke.
social class and health
Social Class and Health
  • The higher one’s social class, the longer one’s life expectancy and the better one’s health.
  • Environmental, economic, and psychosocial factors appear to play the largest part in class advantage regarding health.
race and health
Race and Health
  • When researchers control for income, minorities face obstacles to maintaining good health because they are minorities.
  • African Americans are 3 times as likely as Whites to be without health insurance.
  • Language barriers separate Hispanics from health care.
physicians income and prestige
Physicians’ Income and Prestige
  • Structural-functional - high rewards are commensurate with talent and training.
  • Conflict perspective - the medical profession reflects the interests of the elite classes.
  • The AMA is a powerful lobby in supporting independent physicians fee-for-services payments.
changing status of physicians
Changing Status of Physicians

Reflects several social and economic forces.

  • Group practices are more common.
  • Public has grown increasingly critical of physicians.
  • Fees and treatments are increasingly regulated by insurance companies and government agencies.
  • Ongoing struggle between doctors and nurses reflects gender conflicts in society at large.
  • Nurses have increasingly pushed for higher educational standards for nurses.
  • More women have decided to become doctors.
medical care who pays
 Medical Care: Who Pays?
  • Americans paid an average $340 per person to doctors and hospitals in 1970.
  • By 1998 that figure had risen to $2,115 per person.
who pays the bills
Who Pays the Bills?
  • Private insurance covers about 70 % of Americans today.
  • Government programs include Medicare for people over 65 and Medicaid for the economically disadvantaged.
  • The uninsured in America make up about 16% of the population.