ELDERUPDATES.COM, NO. 120

ELDERUPDATES.COM, NO. 120 APRIL 24, 2016 POPE Francis visits refugees on Lesbos and takes 12 home with them.  (NBC, etc.)  Only KPPC public radio reported that just prior to the Pope’s visit the refugees were given showers and clean clothes for the first time in 25 days. MEDICARE covers diabetes testing and supplies, including insulin, test strips, monitors, lancets and even therapeutic shoes.  22 M people in the U.S. have diabetes and fully 50% of California adults are diabetic or prediabetic.  (Medicare.gov website blog, March 22, 2016.) HACKERS are taking hospital computer systems hostage and only unfreezing the systems after payment of ransoms.  Because so much care depends on computers these attacks jeopardize the lives of patients.  (Nightly Business Report, April 25, 2016) FENTANYL deaths in L.A. County have increased from 40 to 62 a year since 2013.  The drug, up to 100 times more potent than morphine, (Los Angeles Times, April 17, 2016), is part of nationwide endemic of drug abuse including opioids, heroin and other painkillers. 3 Social Security rules you should know: To be eligible you must have 40 paid quarters of work with each quarter paying you over $1,260; The Primary Insurance Amount (PIA) is applied to an averaged index formula which counts your 35 highest years of earnings; By waiting until you’re 70 rather than 62 you get an 8% per year raise in your Social Security benefits (but no raises if you wait until you’re past 70).  In 2016 a worker retiring t full benefits receives a maximum of $2,639 per month; According to the combined Social Security trust funds will decline in 2020...

ELDERUPDATES.COM, NO. 119

ELDERUPDATES.COM, No. 119 APRIL 14, 2016 PRESCRIPTION drugs cost seniors almost double what they did 7 years ago; leaping from $5,571 in 2006 to $11,341 in 2013.  (AARP Bulletin, April 2016.)  No doubt this increase was partly fueled by legislation passed under George W. Bush that prohibits Medicare from negotiating drug prices. WATER saving measures still necessary, as state just misses 25% goal set by Governor Brown last year, saving 23.9%.  (Los Angeles Times, April 5, 2016.) CLIMATE scientists’ models predict up to 6’ sea water rise by 2100, flooding Miami, New York and New Orleans, among other cities.  The rise can be averted if actions are taken soon (The WEEK, April 15, 2016).  Unfortunately, every prediction gets worse and over the term of years (with the exception of 1995), global temperatures have been rising. CORAL reefs become “bleached” when the algae giving them their color dies, often due to the heat or acidity of the water.  Scientists have now found some algae that can survive in the modified environments and give color to the reefs.  (The Economist, April 9, 2016.) OCCASIONAL blackouts may result from the inability to use the Aliso Canyon site to store gas which before the leak was distributed to 17 power plants in the L.A. Basin.  (Los Angeles Times, April 5, 2016.) L.A. County $28.5B budget proposal for next year is “fiscally sound”, even though it pays down only $62M of $27B in unfunded retiree healthcare.  (Los Angeles Times, April 14, 2016.)  At this rate, it will take over 435 years (27B/62M = 435) to get current.  $62M x 10 = $620M.  $62M x 100 = $6.2B.  $62M...

ELDERUPDATES.COM, NO. 118

ELDERUPDATES.COM, No. 118 APRIL 7, 2016 MEDICARE advantage plans often offer additional benefits but may fail patients who are sicker – “like those needing hospitalization, home care or nursing home care – or those with certain mental illnesses, like depression.  (New York Times, April 2, 2016.)  Even within Medicare Advantage plans care may differ from facility to facility. CALIFORNIA Supreme Court rules employees must be provided with seating when the “nature of the work” reasonably accommodates seating.  (LACBA EBriefs, April, 4, 2016.)  Doubtless, readers will have noticed bank tellers and other employees have recently been required to stand. “PANAMA Papers” consists of 11.5 MILLION documents covering financial transactions over the last 40 years, showing how politicians, the wealthy, and businesses hide money, finance arms sales, make drug deals and evade taxes. The documents were obtained from a little known but powerful law firm in Panama called “Mossack Fonseca”.  Over $1.1 TRILLION has been moved, from developing countries, using a practice called “mis-invoicing”, where trade invoices on either side of the transaction are altered to move money under the sham of trade.  (Knowledge@Wharton, April 6, 2016.) The use of multiple bookkeeping systems necessary for these practices was discussed in the early 1970s in Global Reach, by Barnet and Muller, which is still available on Amazon.com PROPOSITION 47 savings (law that reduces sentencing), are calculated as $29M by the Governor’s Department of Finance and $130M by the Legislative Analyst’s Office.  Savings are required to be spend on education, mental health and drug treatment programs.  The Governor’s office alleges that federal judges’ decisions regarding prison overcrowding were unexpected when the initial calculations were...

ELDERUPDATES.COM., NO. 117

ELDERUPDATES.COM, No. 117 MARCH 31, 2016 KIDS with autism are often sensitive to flashing lights and loud voices, (even at a party).  AUTISM AWARENESS DAY is April 2, 2016. A 6 year old girl was torn – literally – from her foster family because she has ½ of 1% Indian blood (1/64).  (Various television and newspaper articles.)  Is this tribal sensitivity – to ignore the 63/64 because she is part Indian? Perhaps if she had been taken from birth, although even that might be a travesty considering the child is 63/64 non-Indian and, as a practical matter, will not enjoy many of the privileges on the reservation she might well have enjoyed in suburban life. Is this how the Indian nations want to be known, taking children of any age, because they can?  Hard facts make bad law but in this case some type of cutoff period seems appropriate.  Couldn’t the child have been exposed to her Indian ancestry short of this legal kidnapping?  The question answers itself. CALIFORNIA reaches deal between legislature, labor unions and the governor to increase the minimum wage from $10 an hour to $15 an hour by 2022.  Governor Brown says “it’s a matter of justice” and smaller employers are given an extra year to comply. However, the bill is opposed by Republicans and some business groups, who state a higher minimum will harm small businesses and force layoffs of the very people higher wages intended to benefit. (Huffington Post, March 28, 2016.) EMPLOYEE’S health costs up 134% in the last 10 years, to nearly $5,000 annually, following a modest increase of 3.2% in s...