ELDERUPDATES.COM, BLOG NO. 14

ELDERUPDATES.COM BLOG NUMBER: 14 April 1, 2014  THE WHITE HOUSE was embarrassed on Saturday when the Washington D. C. Bulletin reported an almost empty bag of miniature Snickers bars had fallen out of Sasha’s school locker in early March.  Spokesman Jay Carney said “without bringing the President’s children into the spotlight, the President only reminds us that nobody is perfect”.  The First Lady’s office issued a terse “no comment”.   THE CENTER FOR MEDICARE AND MEDICAID SERVICES (CMMS) has been holding monthly meetings with Congressional leaders to raise the eligilbiity age for both Social Security and Medicare.  An anonymous but “highly placed” source stated the Denver Post-Herald that raising the age of eligibility is based on Obamacare and generally better health care  “so that 70 is the new 60”. SPEAKING AT A RAUCUS SUNDAY PANCAKE BREAKFAST Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said “(Secretary of Education), Arne Duncan wants to teach our children to all be alike.  Rumor has it he says wants to ‘put the R back in ‘evolution’.  Well, Arne Duncan can’t spell and there won’t be any talk of evolution here!” REPUBLICANS STRUCK OUT at each other after it was reported that a total of 7.2 million had enrolled in Obamacare.  Minority Whip Eric Cantor blamed John Boehner for not working with the Senate to repeal the law, while former vice-presidential candidate Paul Ryan said simply “I feel sick”. THE LOS ANGELES DEPARTMENT OF WATER AND POWER announced it is tripling staff to process solar power applications in an effort to cut the application period to 16 months from its current three years.  A spokesperson said “we understand our customers are anxious to have their...

Elderupdates.com, No. 13

ELDERUPDATES.COM BLOG NUMBER: 13 March 26, 2014     NEW STUDY BY CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL RANKS ALZHEIMER’S AS THIRD-LEADING CAUSE OF DEATH, when one also includes cases where Alzheimer’s-related health complications contributed to death along with cases where Alzheimer’s was the immediate cause of death.  Previously, Alzheimer’s had been thought to be the sixth-leading cause of death.   More than 5 million people are estimated to have this disease, with estimates rising to 15 million by 2050, according to the Alzheimer’s Association.  (WashingtonPost.com, March 5, 2014.) THE STATEWIDE COURT FUNDING CRISIS means that family law cases where parties of represent themselves, have no transcripts of court proceedings.  Legislation to provide electronic court reporting has been proposed, but was not approved by the Legislature.  (Los Angeles Daily News, March 13, 2014.) ARGUING THAT MANY FOR-PROFIT SCHOOLS ARE FAILING to train students to get jobs with a salary that will enable them to pay off their student loans, the Obama Administration is seeking rules that will penalize schools that produce “graduates” without the training they need to obtain “gainful employment” in their new fields.  (Debt Center, AOL Daily Finance, March 14, 2014.)  For profit schools account for approximately 13% of all college students but 46% of all student loan debt defaults, while 72% of for-profit school college “graduates” earn less than many high school dropouts. PUBLICE EMPLOYEE PENSIONS are safe from attack at the ballot box this year, as a proposed ballot initiative to reduce them was withdrawn by its sponsor after receiving what he considered an unfavorable description for the petition.  (Los Angeles Times, March 15, 2014.) MEANWHILE, 36% of...

Elderupdates.com, No. 12

ELDERUPDATES.COM BLOG NUMBER: 12 March 19, 2014   THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION HAS GRANTED A 2 YEAR EXTENSION for consumers to buy health insurance compliant with the Affordable Care Act.  (Huffington Post, March 6, 2014.) FILM L.A. URGES US TO GIVE MORE ATAX AID@ to the studios, so they won=t shoot pictures out of state.  Film L.A. states that only 2 of 25 big budget pictures were shot in L.A. last year.  (L. A. Times, March 7, 2014.)  As each state gives more aid, we become collectively poorer to get film work instead of investing in the jobs of the future.  Yet, these same jobs of the future B especially in technology — are often outsourced to other countries. LOS ANGELES AND ORANGE COUNTIES are among the most overcrowded in the country.  Rents have gone up 20% from 1990 to 2009, while renters= incomes have declined by 6%.  (L.A. Times, March 8, 2014.) THE BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS estimates the fastest growing jobs for 2012 – 2022 are home health aides, retail, food service, Registered nurses, and personal care.  (Huffington Post, March 8, 2014.) THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION HAS WITHDRAWN ITS PLAN to limit Medicare coverage for drugs in three categories: immunosuppressants used in transplants; antidepressants; and antipsychotic medications, after strong resistance from “patients, pharmaceutical companies and Congress.”  (New York Times, March 10, 2014.)  The limitations had been projected to save several hundreds of millions of dollars. AARP REPORTS THAT MEDIBID.COM allows doctors and facilities to bid for patient services. (AARP Bulletin, March, 2014.) AN AARP SURVEY OF BOOMERS’ FINANCES shows that 22% think they are doing “extremely/very well” and 31%...

ELDERUPDATES.COM BLOG, NO. 11

ELDERUPDATES.COM BLOG  NUMBER: 11 March 12, 2014   NOT SURE WHEN TO TAKE YOUR SOCIAL SECURITY BENEFITS?  You can get help at the Social Security Administration’s website page “When to Start Taking Retirement Benefits”, at www.ssa.gov/pubs/10147.html.  (Social Security, Medicare and Government Pensions, Joseph L. Matthews, Nolo Press.) SCAM ARTISTS WHO TARGET THE ELDERLY rely on the elder’s feelings of loneliness  and isolation.  The scammer acts friendly and caring in order to win the elder’s trust.  (NAELA eBulletin, February 20, 2014, citing Forbes magazine.) EVEN IF YOU PURCHASED PRIVATE INSURANCE OUTSIDE THE EXCHANGE you will be eligible for the subsidy if you otherwise qualify.  (Huffington Post, March 1, 2014.) THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION intends to “remove illegal immigrants from the Medicare rolls and require citizenship or lawful presence in the U.S. as a condition for getting Medicare”, after learning that “tens of thousands” were improperly receiving Medicare benefits.  (New York Times, March 3, 2014.) STUDENT LOAN DEBT has reached $1.08 trillion, according to the Federal Reserve.  This is more burdensome for young, first-time buyers, who face the challenges of stagnant wages and increasing home prices.  (Dr. HousingBubble.com, February 26, 2014.) FEWER CONSUMER LOANS ARE DELINQUENT TODAY EXCEPT FOR ONE: STUDENT LOAN DEBT.  “Young people with student loans are less likely to buy a house”, says the president of the New York Federal Reserve.  Many of the students who are delinquent did not complete their degree.  The Department of Education has been trying to develop a rule that would prevent schools whose students are historically unable to pay their loans from participating in the federal loan program.  (New York Times, February 20,...

Elderupdates.com, No. 10

ELDERUPDATES.COM BLOG NUMBER: 10 March 5, 2014            2014 VETERAN’S BENEFITS SCHEDULE: WARTIME VETERAN Type of Benefit             Maximum Pension Rate         (Income Limit) Service Pension            $1,054/month                         $12,652/year One dependent     $1,381/month                         $16,569/year Housebound                  $1,288/month                         $15,462/year One dependent     $1,615/month                         $19,380/year Aid and Attendance      $1,758/month                         $21,107/year One dependent     $2,085/month                         $25,022/year Vet married to another vet      $2,790/month                         $33,480/year Each additional Dependent           $180/month                            $2,161/year SURVIVING SPOUSE Type of Benefit             Maximum Pension Rate         (Income Limit) Death pension               $707/month                            $8,485/year One dependent     $926/month                            $11,107/year Housebound                  $864/month                            $10,371/year One dependent     $1,082month                           $12,988/year Aid and Attendance      $1,130/month                         $13,563/year One dependent     $1,348/month                         $16,180/year Each additional Dependent           $180/month                            $2,161/year (Source: Krause Financial Services.) FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION INVESTIGATORS are “blitzing” Indian drug manufacturers, who supply 40% of the over the counter and generic due to concerns that these drugs are not up to standards.  Between India and China the U.S. risks becoming overly dependent on foreign drug manufacturers.  (New York Times, February 14, 2014.) GENERIC DRUG MANUFACTURERS ARE OPPOSING PROPOSED REGULATIONS that would require them to divulge all side effects that are disclosed on name brand medications.  (L.A. Times, February 17, 2014.) U.S. PROPOSES TO CUT MEDICARE PAYMENTS to Medicare Advntage providers, who currently get paid more than other medicare providers.  (New York Times, February 21, 2014.) U.S. PLANS TO LIMIT SOME DRUGS UNDER MEDICARE in certain treatment areas, including immunosuppressant drugs, anti-depressants and anti-psychotic medications.  The government states that the protected classes account for 17% to 33% of total outpatient spending under Medicare, Part D.  The government believes that without the coverage requirement private drug providers will be forced to lower prices.  (New York Times, February 21,...