AARP: Some Seniors Could Pay More Than $30,000 per Year to Keep Their Plans Under Graham-Cassidy

by wagatwe – The latest iteration of the Trumpcare zombie legislation known as the Graham-Cassidy bill is just bad news for senior Americans. According to a report by the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), millions of seniors nationwide will see their health care premiums and out-of-pocket costs skyrocket if the bill becomes law. The bill eliminates two sources of financial assistance – premium tax credits and cost-sharing reductions – critical to ensuring that low- to moderate-income older adults are able to afford the coverage they need. For a 60-year-old earning $25,000 a year, premiums and out-of-pocket costs could increase by as much as $16,174 a year if they wanted to keep their current coverage. The bill may also allow states to charge older adults age 50-64 significantly higher premiums than under current law on the basis of their age by waiving federal protections that limit the practice known as age rating. AARP chose...

Read More...


New Research Shows Potential on How Cannabis Can Reverse Brain Aging

by TWB – As research uncovers more and more health benefits of cannabis, it is clear that the stigma of cannabis use is steadily falling away, a fact which is reflected in the increasing use among the senior population. One study found that between 2006 and 2013, rates of cannabis use in people age 50 to 64 increased by 60 percent, while use among those over 65 increased by a whopping 250 percent. In light of recent research, this could be greatly beneficial for those in this age range – a new study reveals that cannabis can reverse brain aging. One of the most noticeable symptoms of brain aging is degrading memory performance. And, while a decrease in cognitive functionality is expected with aging, more alarming symptoms could signal the onset of dementia, a devastating condition that greatly reduces a person’s quality of life due to its impact on memory, awareness, and mood; in fact,...

Read More...


CBO: Trumpcare Would Strip Coverage From 23 Million, Make It Worse for the Rest

by Deirdre Fulton – In their rush to push the American Healthcare Act through the chamber this month, Republicans did not wait for a revised report from the CBO. The cruel and destructive bill known as Trumpcare would increase the number of uninsured Americans by 23 million, according to the revised Congressional Budget Office (CBO) score released Wednesday afternoon. The GOP-controlled House passed the American Healthcare Act (AHCA) by just two votes earlier this month, after adding an amendment gutting protections for people with pre-existing conditions and allowing states to get waivers on the essential health benefits required by the Affordable Care Act (ACA), or Obamacare—including maternity and mental health care. In their rush to push the bill through the chamber, Republicans did not wait for a revised report from the CBO. That assessment, published late Wednesday afternoon, found that 14 million more people would be uninsured under Trumpcare next year. Nineteen...

Read More...


With a Daily Dial, Police Reach Out to Seniors

by Jenni Bergal – Living alone can be tough for seniors. Some don’t have family nearby to check on them, and they worry that if they fall or suffer a medical emergency and can’t get to the phone to seek help, no one will know. That’s why hundreds of police agencies in small towns, suburbs and rural areas across the country are checking in on seniors who live alone by offering them a free automated phone call every day. Police officials say the computerized calling systems, which are fairly inexpensive and easy to use, provide an important service to a growing senior population that is expected to reach 65 million by 2025. Already, nearly half of women age 75 and older live alone. And advocates for older adults say telephone check-in programs can help seniors remain independent in their homes and give them — and their family members — peace of...

Read More...


Rand Paul: America’s Hungry Seniors Should Turn to Charity

By Joan McCarter, Daily Kos – It’s a seriously fucked up new world in Washington, DC. A Senate subcommittee on Primary Health and Aging, chaired by Sen. Bernie Sanders, held a hearing Tuesday on the “human toll and budget consequences” of senior hunger. Panelists shared tales of woe from older Americans unable to get enough food, and urged increased funding for nutrition programs under the Older Americans Act of 1965.This might have been non-controversial a few years ago, but not with the Tea Party in town. The hearing produced a fierce debate between Sanders, a self-described democratic socialist, and Sen. Rand Paul, the prototypical Tea Partier, about whether the government should even perform simple tasks like feeding hungry senior citizens…. Mary Jane Koren, a geriatrician and vice-president of the Commonwealth Fund, noted that seniors often suffer health problems and are put in nursing homes after falling down. Poor nutrition leads...

Read More...


Older Americans Act Limps Along at 50, Stressing Local and State Agencies

By Rita Beamish, Stateline – This year marks a half-century since Congress created the Older Americans Act, the major vehicle for delivering social and nutrition services to people over 60. But there’s little to celebrate on the golden anniversary of the law that helps people age at home. Federal funding hasn’t kept up with the skyrocketing number of America’s seniors, now the largest elderly population in history. That’s left states and communities struggling to provide the in-home support, meals, case management and other nonmedical services that help seniors avoid more costly nursing home care and enrolling in taxpayer-funded Medicaid. Area Agencies on Aging, the local organizations created to deliver services particularly to low-income, minority and rural seniors, are seeing their waiting lists grow. They also are scrimping on home services, delivering fewer meals, providing fewer places for group meals, and offering fewer social and recreational programs. Cash-strapped states and...

Read More...


A Modern Proposal – The Poor Are Telling the Rich to ‘Eat Me!’

“From the Desk of NickiLeaks” ““Boss, I have something strange going on,” a nervous reporter said as he approached the desk of NickiLeaks’ national editor. “The editor looked around the newsroom at his staff of paper-airplane-throwing miscreants and wondered exactly what today’s definition of strange was? “Then he looked back at the reporter. ““What’s happening son, are the Republicans making sense?” he asked. ““No, they’re pissed,” the young reporter replied. “Hell, son, that ain’t news, the editor grunted as he went back to his reading. The young reporter didn’t go away. The editor tried not to notice, but he failed and eventually sighed. “What are the rich pissed at now?” he exhaled. “They’re pissed about the poor,” the young reporter replied. “Why, they still got money?” the editor inquired with dripping sarcasm. “Is that what’s making the Republicans mad?” “No sir, it’s something else,” the reporter said with his own small sigh. “The color of...

Read More...


Nearly 1 in 10 Adults Skips Meds Due to Cost, CDC Says

(HealthDay News) — Nearly one in 10 American adults don’t take their medications as prescribed because they can’t afford to, health officials reported last week. High drug costs in the United States may be hurting the very people the medications are meant to help, the new report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests. About 15 percent of U.S. adults have asked their doctor for a lower-cost alternative, the researchers found. Moreover, almost 2 percent have bought prescription drugs from another country — where medications may or may not be regulated — and more than 4 percent have tried alternative therapies. “These people are skipping doses, taking less medication or delaying filling prescriptions,” said report author Robin Cohen, a health statistician at CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS). Not taking medications as prescribed can have serious consequences, said co-author Maria Villarroel, chief of the special...

Read More...


Just Weeks Before Elections, Fed Judges Reinstate Texas’s Harsh Voter ID Law

Rules upheld despite warnings laws suppress Black and Hispanic vote By Sarah Lazare, Common Dreams– Just a few weeks before the November elections, a federal appeals court on Tuesday temporarily reinstated Texas’s harsh voter ID law, despite warnings — including from the Department of Justice — that it suppresses people of color, the poor, the young, and the elderly from casting their ballots. “Today’s decision shocks the conscience of good people everywhere because it has the clear consequence of denying access to the ballot to many people of color, the elderly, and young persons,” stated Gary Bledsoe, president of the Texas NAACP and an attorney with PotterBledsoe. In the ruling, a three-judge panel on the New Orleans-based fifth circuit court of appeals temporarily blocked a decision issued last week to strike down voter ID requirements because they discriminate against Black and Hispanic voters. As justification for Tuesday’s reinstatement of the law, the...

Read More...


Center sues US to make Medicare Advantage files public

Freedom of Information Act suit targets oversight of health care program By Fred Schulte, Center for Public Integrity – The Center for Public Integrity has sued the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, seeking a wide range of records concerning oversight of Medicare Advantage health insurance plans for senior citizens. The suit, filed today in U.S. District Court in Washington under the Freedom of Information Act, argues that officials have yet to release any documents sought by the Center for more than a year. Federal law generally requires a response within 20 working days.  “The information about Medicare Advantage that we are asking for should be readily available to the taxpaying public. There’s no excuse for  ignoring our request,” said Bill Buzenberg, the Center’s Executive Director. Medicare Advantage, a privately-run alternative to standard Medicare, has enrolled nearly 16 million elderly and disabled persons at an annual cost expected to top $150...

Read More...


Silver Patrol – Crime-fighting Seniors Look Out for Each Other

Fed up with drugs, prostitution, volunteers coordinate with cops to monitor area in Bridgeport By Lee Higgins, Al Jazeera – BRIDGEPORT, Conn. — Jean Smoak, a 70-year-old great-grandmother, made her way across the parking lot of her senior housing complex on a recent Friday night with her cane in hand, looking out for drug dealers and prostitutes. The dealers, she said, cruise down Black Rock Avenue from Park Avenue in their “fancy sports cars” and stop by the lot’s entrance, where they reach out their car windows and exchange drugs for cash. Smoak, a retired health care worker, said she’s fed up. She’s been jotting down license plate numbers, which the leader of her senior crime watch group plans to pass along to police. “When they come and do that, other dangerous things can happen,” she said of the dealers. “The person that is waiting for it can come and...

Read More...


Rick Scott bombs with this crowd of seniors on Obamacare

By Joan McCarter. Daily Kos staff  – Well, this didn’t quite go as planned for Gov. Rick Scott (R-FL). He’s already abandoned the legislative session, and is out on the campaign trail, instead of at work in Tallahassee. One of those campaign stops was at a senior center in Boca Raton, designed to be a friendly media opportunity where Scott could commiserate with seniors about all those “Obamcare cuts to Medicare.” You know, the favorite Republican Medicare lie? The 20 seniors assembled for a roundtable with Scott at the Volen Center were largely content with their Medicare coverage and didn’t have negative stories to recount.And some praised Obamacare–a program that Scott frequently criticizes. “I’m completely satisfied,” Harvey Eisen, 92, a West Boca resident, told Scott. Eisen told the governor he wasn’t sure “if, as you say,” there are Obamacare-inspired cuts to Medicare. But even if there are, that would be OK. “I...

Read More...


As predicted, Obamacare approval is climbing

By Jon Perr Earlier this week, Republicans politicians and pundits, bloggers and bosses couldn’t contain their glee over a spate of polls showing the public’s disapproval for the Affordable Care Act. But as I warned just yesterday, Obamacare’s conservative saboteurs might soon contract a severe case of premature elation. After all, the experience of President Bush’s badly bungled Medicare Part D prescription drug plan showed that fear of the unknown and a calamitous launch faded over time as the program took root. And so it is—just 24 hours later—that the Kaiser Family Foundation is reporting a significant increase in support for the Affordable Care Act, most importantly among those currently uninsured. For most of the past four years, KFF polling on Obamacare among all adults was little changed (see chart at end). But the botched website launch in October produced plummeting approval numbers. In January, opposition among all respondents...

Read More...