ELDERUPDATES.COM, NO. 73

ELDERUPDATES.COM, No. 73 MAY 26, 2015 MEMORIAL Day is a time to honor veterans, living and deceased, whether from earlier wars to Viet Nam to Iraq and Afghanistan.  Many soldiers don’t choose the wars they fight in; to paraphrase former defense secretary Rumsfeld, they don’t go to the wars they want, the go to the wars they are sent to. Let’s support giving VA enough money to provide the care veterans need right along with the funds to prevent excessively large payouts for “permanent disability” injuries (backaches, tinnitus (ringing in the ears), heart disease, etc.), that affect everyone.  Let’s be appreciative, caring and respectful of Veterans, especially those with substantial injury requiring significant care, but not stupid in the administration of a system which “presumes” disability, according to an earlier Los Angeles Times article. MEANWHILE, the Boy Scouts of America has banned squirt gun fights because they aren’t “kind”.  (The WEEK, May 29, 2015.)  (Every week seems to bring a new expression of overprotectionism of children that will come to haunt them in later life when they find out there really are winners and losers and people who want to hurt them, lie to them, or take their money.) THE SEC (Securities Exchange Commission), is proposing rules for brokers working with seniors.  Areas to be covered include training, “senior designation” requirements, better documentation, suitability (but not “fiduciary responsibility” advocated by the Obama administration), disclosures (of compensation to broker), and supervision of brokers working with investors “suffering from diminished capacity”.  (American Association of Individual Investors Journal, May, 2015.) HANEGY GROUP, a major Chinese stock, tumbled almost 50% in 1 day. (The...

ELDERUPDATES.COM., NO 72

ELDERUPDATES.COM, NO. 72 MAY 19, 2015   HOMELESSNESS increased 12% in Los Angeles since last year as a result of “soaring rents, low wages and stubbornly high unemployment”.  Countywide, 44,000 people are homeless, up from 5,000 from last year.  (Los Angeles Times, May 12, 2015.) 5 common symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder are: Hypervigilance and an exaggerated startle response – being on guard and jumpy; Irritability or angry outbursts; Emotional numbness, lack of interest in activities and difficulty feeling love and joy; Avoiding thoughts and situations that are reminders of a traumatic event. (AARP, May 2015.) PURSUANT to Proposition 98, Governor Brown’s “May revise” budget likely to direct “billions” of dollars to schools and community colleges from increased revenues “with little money left over for expanding other programs”.  (Los Angeles Times, May 12, 2015.)  Tuition at the UCs will be frozen at its current rate for 2 years. THE Budget also sets aside $3.7 billion in a “rainy day” fund.  (California Budget and Policy Report, May 15, 2015). LOS Angeles County terminated cooperation with feds (the 287(g) program), to determine immigration status of inmates in County jails and select some inmates convicted of felonies for deportation.  Some argued these are not the immigrants we want, while others argued the inmates may have been “overcharged” (with felonies instead of misdemeanors), and the program erodes community confidence in law enforcement.  (Los Angeles Times, May 12, 2015.) ON May 14, 2015, the California Senate voted 25-10 to eliminate personal beliefs exemptions from vaccines. MEANWHILE, a “vaccine patch” capable of delivering vaccines with up to 100 microneedles is being developed by the Center...

ELDERUPDATES.COM, NO. 71

ELDERUPDATES.COM, No. 71 MAY 12, 2015   CALIFORNIA cumulative water savings since last year is 8.6%, much less than the 25% Governor Brown has called for.  Meanwhile, water board scientist estimates Californians used only 3.6% less this last March than in March, 2013.  (Los Angeles Times, May 6, 2015). NEWLY announced Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee recently said “climate change is here and it’s real”.  He opposes same-sex marriage, and cuts in Social Security and/or Medicare (the latter separating him from many Republicans).  (New York Times, May 6, 2015.) IN 2018, Medicare participants with incomes over $133,500 will pay higher premiums for Part B (doctors and tests) and Part D (prescription drugs).  (The Kiplinger Letter, April 17, 2005.) REPORT by UC Berkeley and UCLA estimates California’s cost to provide medical coverage for undocumented immigrants at $740 million per year if coverage is extended to them.  (Los Angeles Times, May 5, 2015.) 48% of baby boomers reported satisfaction with retirement, a new low, down from 76% in 2011, according to survey by Insured Retirement Institute.  (Los Angeles Times, May 6, 2015.) LOS Angeles Teachers ratified 3 year pact with 10% wage increase over 2 years, with a possible additional increase in the 3rd year.  (Los Angeles Times, May 9, 2015.) UNEMPLOYMENT down 5.4%, the lowest in 7 years, but wages continue to show “meager” growth.  (Los Angeles Times, May 9, 2015.) CALIFORNIA Assembly passes bill to limit sale of electronic cigarettes (vaping) to minors, while health groups plan ballot measure to raise cigarette tax.  (Los Angeles Times, May 5, 2015.) CORINTHIAN for-profit trade schools filed for bankruptcy, listing $100 million in...

ELDERUPDATES.COM, NO. 70

ELDERUPDATES.COM, No. 70 MAY 5, 2015 HAPPY Cinco de Mayo to my Hispanic and Latino readers. 49% of nursing homes now get a four or five star rating from the federal government, a decline from 80% “not long ago”.  CMS (Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services) states this is because of tightened criteria. (Kiplinger’s Retirement Report, April, 2015.)  The best way to get good care in any nursing home is to have your family and friends visit regularly at unpredictable times. 37% of California hospitals graded “C” or worse for patient safety by Leapfrog, an employer-backed non-profit.  248 California hospitals were evaluated.  (Los Angeles Times, April 30, 2015.) OBAMACARE enrollment soars 64% to 2.2 million in California, as state’s employers reduced health care coverage from 69% of employers to 58% of employers in the same period.  (Los Angeles Times, April 30, 2015.) 2 additional side effects of the Affordable Care Act include: Some firms may increase fees for spousal coverage, especially those who have coverage at their own jobs; and 6 in 10 firms are expected to make smokers pay more than non-smokers. (The Kiplinger Letter, April 24, 2015.) IN 2013 1.5 million Medicare patients were prescribed Nexium at a cost of $2.5 billion, making it the most expensive drug prescribed under the Medicare program.  Medicare report details information about $103 billion in spending for 36 million patients in the Part D drug program in 2013.  (New York Times, April 30, 2015.) A growing number of Americans have osteoporosis—which weakens the bones … Medicare can help you prevent or detect osteoporosis at an early stage, when treatment works best. Talk...