ELDERUPDATES.COM BLOG, NO. 23

ELDERUPDATES.COM, NO. 23 May 29, 2014 MERS, POLIO AND OTHER DISEASES are on the rise.  Polio has been reported in 10 countries this year.  Separately, a second person tested positive for the MERS (Middle East Respiratory Disease), coronavirus, which has so far killed 1/3 of those who catch it.  The good news?  The risk of contagion is low.  (The WEEK, May 23, 2014.) SCIENTISTS HAVE ADDED 2 CHEMICALS TO DNA to increase the ability to make antibiotics, vaccines and other innovations.  (The WEEK, May 23, 2014.) VETERAN’S ADMINISTRATION to allow patients to go to private clinics if they have to wait more than 30 days for an appointment.  The VA will also extend its own clinic hours to include nights and weekends.  (Los Angeles Times, May 28, 2014.) On May 30, 2014, Shinseki resigned.  There will be difficulty getting anyone else confirmed by a contentious Congress and Obama has only two years left in his term.  The successor may be a short-timer without connections or influence in the VA, so that the changes Shinseki did not may be more difficult to implement. STRUGGLING ACTORS are big beneficiaries of Obamacare, as many have not had health insurance for years.  (Los Angeles Times, May 23, 2014.) COFFEE WITHDRAWAL may be coming for some who love arabica coffe as a fungus is devastating the crop in Central America.  (The WEEK, May 30, 2014.) OTHER HEALTH MATTERS: 1)  Scientists are using 3-D printers and nanotechnology to create an artificial liver that can be used outside the body like a dialysis machine. 2)  Having a sense of purpose and goals in life may extend it,...

ELDERUPDATES.COM BLOG, NO. 22

ELDERUPDATES.COM BLOG,  NO. 22 May 22, 2014 A COALITION OF LOS ANGELES HEALTH CARE PROVIDERS ARE TO ISSUE GUIDELINES FOR END-OF-LIFE CARE.  In addition to issuing guidelines the providers will urge their doctors and nurses to help patients specify their hopes for the end of life through advance health care planning, and understand how to seek palliative care if a patient wants it.  (Los Angeles Times, May 21, 2014.) (Every adult should have a will or trust, power of attorney for financial and legal affairs, and Advance Directive fore Health Care.  These are exactly the kinds of services I provide my clients.) 3 FORMER U.S. SENATORS BAND TOGETHER to push for an expansion of telemedicine to take advantage of digital technology to improve health care access.  Democrats Daschle and Breaux, along with Republican Lott, are not supporting a particular bill but are instead focused on highlighting the possibilities while finding ways to prevent fraud.  (New York Times, May 21, 2014.) 90 PEOPLE WERE ARRESTED, including doctors, pharmacy owners and elderly patients in a Medicare fraud scheme involving $260 million.  The scheme was apparently based in Florida.  (New York Times, May 14, 2014.) STATIN drugs are now taken by 1/6 of all American adults.  People on statin drugs, (perhaps feeling a false sense of security), eat more calories than people not taking statin drugs.  (The WEEK, May 16, 2014.) THENEW DIRECTOR AT FANNIE MAE AND FREDDIE MAC has done a 180.  Loans with small down payments will be encouraged and steps will be taken to lower the criteria (income, credit scores), to qualify for a mortgage.  (Los Angeles Times, May 14, 2014.)...

ELDERUPDATES.COM, BLOG NO. 21

ELDERUPDATES.COM, BLOG NO. 21 May 15, 2014 GOVERNOR BROWN PROPOSES RAINY-DAY and debt repayment fund, to be funded by extra revenues in good years (primarily from capital gains and income taxes on the wealthy in good years), and 1.5% of general fund revenues.  No new taxes are planned.  Half the funds would be used to pay down debt, the other half deposited into the rainy-day fund.  (Los Angeles Times, May 8, 2014.)  Brown and the legislature have reached tentative agreement on the mechanics of the fund.  (Los Angeles Times, May 12, 2014.) VETERANS ALLEGEDLY WAIT YEARS FOR APPOINTMENTS; House issues subpoenas to investigate possible waiting list abuse.  (New York Times, May 8, 2014.) There are two additional problems in the VA system.  The first is the terribly inadequate care given to many with PTSD and other disabilities.  The second is the low annual premiums of less than $1,000 a year charged for veteran’s health insurance through the Tri-Care program. SMARTPHONES will be likely required to have a “kill switch” by July, 2015.  The “kill switch” will disable the phone if it is stolen, rendering the phone useless. (Los Angeles Times, May 8, 2014.) THE OLDER CLING TO JOBS, crowding out the younger.  In every age group above 62, the proportion of men and women who are employed is higher than it was before the recession.  (New York Times, May 8, 2014.) CONCURRENTLY, THE NUMBER OF UNEMPLOYED 55 AND OLDER increased more than any other age group.  As of January, 2014, 1.5 million people over 55 were unemployed and 44% were long-term unemployed.  (AARP, May, 2014.) So older workers cling...

ELDERUPDATES.COM, BLOG NO. 20

ELDERUPDATES.COM BLOG, NO. 20 May 8, 2014 AMERICANS PAY MORE FOR PRESCRIPTIONS DRUGS AND MEDICAL TESTS than do people living in countries where a single agency negotiates price.  (The WEEK, May 2, 2014.) NEW ALZHEIMER’S THEORY suggests that women account for more cases than men because women are more susceptible to a gene variant known as ApoE4, which occurs in 50% of Alzheimer’s patients. (The WEEK, May 2, 2014.) “THE ECONOMIST” REPORTS  “across the rich world, well-educated people increasingly work longer than the less-skilled…The divide is most extreme in America, where well-educated baby-boomers are putting off retirement while many less-skilled younger people have dropped out of the workforce…Wealthy old people will accumulate more savings…Inequality will increase and a growing share of wealth will eventually be transferred to the next generation via inheritance, entrenching the division…still further…this trend underlines the importance of increasing public investment in education at all stages of life, so that more people acquire the skills they need to thrive in the modern labour market.”  (The Economist, April 26, 2014.)  The unspoken assumption is that there will be jobs for the people with these newly acquired skills, while jobs are increasing more in the low-skill low-wage sector than the high-skill, high-wage sector.  For example, the legal industry lost 1,200 jobs last month (Los Angeles Daily Journal, May 5, 2014.) THE MODEST MEANS INCUBATOR PROJECT is meant to bring law schools, legal aid foundations, and bar associations together to provide affordable legal services to those who cannot afford attorneys.  California, with one of the highest poverty rates in the country, currently has 3 incubators in operation.  (CalBarJournal, May,...