ELDERUPDATES.COM, NO. 91

ELDERUPDATES.COM, NO. 90 SEPTEMBER 30, 2015   ANOTHER week has gone by without Governor Brown saying he will or won’t sign the physician-assisted suicide bill. CHARTER school advocates are pushing for ½ of all L.A.U.S.D. schools to become charter schools.  (Los Angeles Times, September 22, 2015.)  Charter schools are partly controversial because they are widely believed to cherry pick the best students and totally reject applications by Special Needs children. REPUBLICAN Speaker of the House John Boehner announced his resignation amidst concerns the U.S. government will have another shutdown, this time over funding Planned Parenthood, which provides cancer screening services, STD treatment, and other women’s health issues care.  “This is not about women’s health” says Mick Mulvaney, (R – SC), “[i]t’s about trafficking in pieces of dead children.”  (The Economist, September 26, 2015.)  Planned Parenthood charges the cost of collecting fetal tissue sold to researchers who research diseases such as cancer. HIGH polluting VW diesel buyers were paid $51 M by the government for buying low polluting vehicles.  This morning (9-23-15) I heard the CEO of VW had resigned, but how are they to make buyers and governments whole, and remove the pollution they intentionally and illegally allowed to be spewed into our environment? VW being sued in 60 class action lawsuits. 27 state attorneys general are meeting to determine a legal strategy due to VW’s emission control mechanism which expelled less nitrous oxide when being tested than when being used on the road. (Bloomberg television, September 24, 2015.) VW’s “skullduggery raises the question as to whether other carmakers have been up to similar tricks”.  Europeans must use independent...

ELDERUPDATES.COM, NO. 90

ELDERUPDATES.COM, No. 90 SEPTEMBER 23, 2015 CALIFORNIA recently changed state law to remove the personal belief exemption for vaccinations of school-aged children.  (Kaiser Partners in Health, September, 2015.) THIS year’s flu shots focus on H3N2, which is expected to be the most active virus; therefore, this year’s shots are expected to be more effective than last year’s.  (Los Angeles Times, September 20, 2015.) GOVERNOR Brown has 30 days to sign or veto the doctor-assisted suicide bill passed by the legislature.  If he does nothing, the law automatically goes into effect.  In Oregon, less than 100 lethal doses per year have been dispensed, including people who moved to the state specifically to die. (The Economist, September 19, 2015.) DISABLED people whose disability began before age 26 may soon be able to take advantage of the new federal ABLE law, which functions like a combination of a 529 educational benefits plan and a Special Needs Trust, to provide funds to pay for the beneficiary’s disability expenses.  California is considering enabling legislation to enact the ABLE law. To be considered disabled the beneficiary must: be disabled before reaching age 26, or receive SSI or SSDI benefits; have a medically determinable physical or mental impairment which results in marked and severe functional limitations; which are expected to last at least 12 months. (Tom Beltran, Los Angeles Lawyer, September, 2015.) NUMBER of uninsured people in California fell by 26.7 % over last year.  (California Budget Bites, September 16, 2015.) NATIONALLY, Census Bureau reports that number of those without health insurance dropped from 41.8 M in 2013 to 33 M in 2014, a decline of 10.4%.  (The...

ELDERUPDATES.COM, NO. 89

ELDERUPDATES.COM, No. 89 SEPTEMBER 16, 2015   9-11 was acknowledged last week with remembrances of what happened that sad and fateful day.  Remember to appreciate first responders who, at the risk of their own lives, are trained to enter dangerous situations to save and protect us, the public.  While recent years have shown us there are a few bad apples, it is only a few.  Whether police, firefighters, or EMTs (Emergency Medical Technicians), all deserve our recognition and appreciation.  (End of speech.) MEANWHILE, shootings of police officers (7 since August 1st), spiked this summer.  Critics who blame President Obama need to “calm down”, while Obama has called targeted shootings of police “completely unacceptable”,   and “an affront to civilized society”.   (The Economist, September 12, 2015.) AND the family of Freddie Gray settled a wrongful death suit against the city of Baltimore for $6.4 million (at least 15 times the normal Baltimore settlement in these matters), after Gray died when placed face down in a police van.  6 police officers, some black, face criminal charges as a result of the death.  (The WEEK, September 18, 2015.)  The family of the man killed in New York as a result of illegally selling cigarettes is apparently expecting a similar settlement. CALIFORNIA legislature approves “death with dignity” law modeled on the Oregon law that will allow people – with restrictions – to end their own lives.  70% in a recent Gallup poll approved of physician-assisted suicide (New York Times, September 11, 2015), but Governor Brown has been tight-lipped about whether he will sign the bill.  As of this publishing date, Brown has not signed nor vetoed the bill. CENTER for Medicare...

ELDERUPDATES.COM, NO. 88

ELDERUPDATES.COM, No. 88 SEPTEMBER 9, 2015   NATIONAL Institutes of Health study finds no benefit to supplements (Omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants), taken to promote brain health and prevent cognitive decline.  (New York Times, September 3, 2015.) DEPARTMENT of Health and Human Services proposes rule requiring insurers to cover medical treatments for transgender people if they would cover those same treatments for someone who is not transgender. If, for example, an insurer would cover estrogen treatments for a non-transgender patient, it would need to cover them for transgender patients as well. (New York Times, September 4, 2015.) 8 charged with $46 M Medi-Cal fraud after they claimed to have given treatments for drug and alcohol addiction.  (Los Angeles Times, September 4, 2015.) SINCE 2007 the Medicare Fraud Strike Force has charged 2,300 defendants in cases involving $7 B in fraudulent charges.  (Consumer Reports, October, 2015.) 3 vaccines you should discuss with your doctor are flu, measles and shingles.  (Consumer Reports, October, 2015.) TRUST attorneys are increasingly including “digital assets” language in their trust documents.  If you have a trust you should speak to your attorney about including language about “digital assets” in your document. SENATOR Feinstein to meet with VA personnel to expedite plans to put homeless vets on West L.A. campus.  (KPPC radio, September 4, 2015.) TARGETING small scale projects such as rooftop solar, President Obama doubles renewable energy loans to $1 B.  (The WEEK, September 4, 2015.) MONSTER El Nino brewing in Pacific Ocean, potentially becoming the strongest El Nino ever recorded.  (The WEEK, September 11, 2015.) JAIL time ordered for Kentucky county clerk who refuses to issue...

ELDERUPDATES.COM, NO. 87

ELDERUPDATES.COM,  NO. 87 SEPTMEBER 2, 2015 MEDICARE blog at CMMS states ovarian cancer accounts for about 3% of cancers among women, but causes more deaths than any other cancer of the female reproductive system. Early diagnosis is the key to survival, and the key to early diagnosis is recognizing the symptoms of ovarian cancer: Bloating Pelvic or abdominal pain Trouble eating or feeling full quickly Urgency or frequency of urination Currently there’s no effective screening test for ovarian cancer.  If you notice any changes in your body that last for 2 weeks or longer, talk to your doctor.  (Medicare blog, September 1, 2015.) CRITICS said the [President’s] “true purpose was to put America under “ultimate socialist control”.  The President defied the critics and in 2015 Social Security celebrates its 80th birthday.  ((AARP, August/September 2015.) INTERNET affairs no longer secret as hackers expose the 34 M users searching for love, often outside the bounds of marriage.  Ashley-Madison now faces lawsuits for allowing names to be released.  (New York Times, August 28, 2015.) SOCIAL Security recipients unlikely to get an increase in 2016 due to low inflation.  (The Kiplinger Letter, August 18, 2015.) RESPONSE times for repairs, graffiti removal, large trash pick-ups and other city services are often unequal with even higher income neighborhoods suffering as well.  (Los Angeles Times, August 28, 2015.) NEW boss in town as National Labor Relations Board rules employees of franchises such as McDonald’s and Burger King, as well as contractors for home repairs, are employees of both the larger entity (McDonald’s, for example), as well as the (franchisee, the local operator of a branch operation).  (New...