ELDERUPDATES.COM, NO. 64

ELDERUPDATES.COM, No. 64 March 25, 2015   “WATCHMAN” heart device gets FDA approval for implantation in humans suffering from irregular heartbeat who are also at risk for stroke.  (Los Angeles Times, March 24, 2015.) “HOSPITALS last year saw a big cut in their costs from treating people who couldn’t pay their bills—but the windfall was much larger in states that embraced”  Obamacare.  (Nightly Business Report, March 23, 2015.) BIOGEN seeks approval for new drug that slows or prevents Alzheimer’s by attacking the plaque that accompanies the disease.  (Nightly Business Report. Approximately March 22, 2015.) TRUSTS law now provides, in the Fourth District at least, that merely referring to all “right, title and interest” to “all.. real property” is enough to bring property into the Trust under a Heggstad petition.  (California State Bar Trust and Estates Section, Ukkestad v. RBS Asset Finance, Filed  March 16, 2015, Fourth District, Div. One.) MISSOURI Gov. Jay Nixon willing to support a proposal to require Medicaid recipients to work or pay more for their government-funded health insurance if it meant more people could enroll in the program… A work requirement is controversial among health insurance advocates who say it creates a barrier to care and deviates from the goals of the Medicaid program. But it’s been embraced by governors looking to instill changes in Medicaid in exchange for adding more people to the program.  (National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, March 18, 2015) “MORE than 16 million Americans have gained coverage since President Barack Obama’s health care law took effect five years ago, the administration said Monday. But measuring a different way, an independent expert...

ELDERUPDATES.COM, NO. 63

ELDERUPDATES.COM,  No. 63 March 18, 2015 HEALTH MATTERS: -U.S. now spends $190 billion a year treating obesity-related conditions. -U.S. Dietary Guidelines Committee drops long standing recommendation that cholesterol is a “nutrient of concern”, concluding that for most healthy adults the problem is not eating cholesterol but having a body that produces a lot of cholesterol. -Two Russian bears caged near a bar are being moved after bar goers turned the bears into alcoholics by giving them drinks.  (The WEEK, March 20, 2015.) HOUSE Republicans intend to introduce legislation for the 2016 that partly privatizes Medicare, turns Medicaid into a block grant program, (under which states get a fixed amount of money and no more), and repeals the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare).  (New York Times, March 16, 2015.) THE GROUND underneath our feet is sinking as water is pumped out of the water table, with California having only 1 year’s supply of water.  (Los Angeles Times, March 18, 2015.) Unfortunately, there has been no serious call for conservation.  When land subsides, there is less room for water storage underground, and our permanent capacity to store water decreases, even as demand from agriculture, industry and individuals increases. BLUE Shield has lost its state income tax exemption, potentially making it liable for “tens of millions” of dollars a year in state income tax.  (Los Angeles Times, March 18, 2015.) JUST last issue I noted the problems for STRS pension system.  Due to a ruling in U.S. Bankruptcy Court holding that pensions are no different than other obligations to creditors, future municipal bankruptcies will likely result in pension reductions.  (Los Angeles Times, March 17,...

ELDERUPDATES.COM, NO. 62

ELDERUPDATES.COM, No. 62 March 11, 2015 SUPREME COURT hears challenge to Obamacare subsidies paid in states where state did not run it’s own exchange.  Ruling potentially could ban subsidies in 37 states.  (Washington Post, March 4, 2015.)  The decision is expected in June. 50 years on President Obama and others gathered at the Edmund Pettis Bridge in Selma, Alabama, to commemorate and honor those who marched at great personal danger to themselves in the cause of civil rights.  (Los Angeles Times, March 6, 2015.) Only to have a college incident of racist chanting just a few days later (NBC News, March 9, 2015.)  At least this incident was dealt with forthrightly and directly by the school’s president (former Senator Boren), who offered to buy the offending students one way bus tickets out of town. FDA approves biotechnology companies to market “biosimilar” drugs, which are biotech drugs that are similar to the original, patented, drug.  Such drugs are already marketed in Europe and may lead to price reductions.  (Los Angeles Times, March 7, 2015.) CONVERTING your Traditional IRA to a Roth IRA may have tax advantages and can eliminate the need for Required Minimum Distributions, but should only be done after consulting with your accountant or investment adviser.  (American Association of Individual Investors, March, 2015.) AMERICANS over 55 are suddenly desirable employees, with 4.1% of seniors claiming unemployment versus 5.7% for the rest of the population. (AOL Daily Finance, March, 4, 2015.) OBAMA’s tax proposals: Expand the American Opportunity Tax Credit while ending the Lifetime Learning credit and deductions for college tuition and interest payments on student debt; Limit one’s ability to...

ELDERUPDATES.COM, NO. 61

ELDERUPDATES.COM, 61 March 4, 2015 GENERALLY, withdrawals from 401k prior to age 59 1/2 pay a tax penalty of 10%, but if the withdrawal is made when you leave a job after turning 55 there is no penalty for early withdrawal.  Kiplinger Retirement Report, February, 2015.) 57% of households are unprepared for a sudden financial setback, with 55% spending as much or more than they earn each month.  (Los Angeles Times, February 26, 2015.) CANADA’S Supreme Court strikes down law banning assisted suicide, stating that doctor-assisted suicide should be available to anyone who consents and has an “irremediable medical condition” that causes “enduring suffering”.  (The WEEK, February 20, 2015.) SKIN test for Alzheimer’s shows promise.  Higher levels of key proteins may point to disease, but more study is needed, experts say.  Compared to those with non-Alzheimer’s dementia, Alzheimer’s patients had seven times higher levels of a protein called tau.  (Robert Preidt, HealthDay News, February, 2015.) HEALTH MATTERS: -More than 3 drinks a day for men, and 2 for women, increase the risk of stroke in middle age; -Working out too much, too hard, is hard on the body.  There is an “optimal” amount of exercise which is not the same as the “maximum” amount one can do; and -Secondhand smoke still poses significant risks to children, especially minority children.  (The WEEK, February 20, 2015.) LOS ANGELES County Children’s Court sets up special procedures and services for homeless youth forced into prostitution, rather than charging them with crimes.  (Los Angeles Times, February 26, 2015.) KAISER “slammed” by state for requiring mental health patients, including those with suicidal tendencies or severe depression,...