ELDERUPDATES.COM, NO. 124

ELDERUPDATES.COM, No. 124 MAY 26, 2016   HOSPITAL patient injured when bedrails collapsed after being raised on doctor’s orders limited to statute of limitations for “medical negligence” rather than 2-year limitations period for bodily injury claims.  (Los Angeles County Bar EBriefs, Flores v. Presbyterian Intercommunity Hospital, filed May 5, 2016, cite 2016 S.O.S. 2291.) U.S. sues Prime Healthcare (owner of Encino Hospital, Sherman Oaks Hospital, Centinela Hospital Medical Care Center and 11 more facilities), alleging the hospitals billed for “unnecessary patient stays”.  Damages could run to $50 M.  (Los Angeles Times, May 26, 2016.) 58% of Americans favor replacing Obamacare with “federally funded health insurance providing insurance for all Americans”.  (The WEEK, May 27, 2016.)  The WEEK recently reported a very high percentage of young people describing themselves as anti-capitalist. OTHER medical news: National Toxicology program study finds correlation between brain and heart cancer in rats and cell phone use.  (AOL, May 27, 2016.)  Important unanswered questions include: How much do rats text?; and Why gave them cell phones, anyway? The actual study merely exposed the rats to the type of radiation one would receive from a cell phone, so the rats get the worst of both worlds. CHINESE nationals largest buyers of American real estate, purchasing over $110 B over the last 5 years, and is expected to double over the next 5.  (The WEEK, May 27, 2016.) 20% of over-65s still working, largest percentage since the 1960s when Medicare was enacted.  (The WEEK, May 27, 2016.) CALIFORNIA State Senate passes 11 bills outlawing the manufacture of guns with removable magazines and requiring background checks for ammunition purchases, in response to...

ELDERUPDATES.COM, NO. 123

ELDERUPDATES.COM, NO. 12 MAY 19, 2016   BALLOT proposition (California Drug Price Relief), seeks to limit what California pays for drugs to the same amount the Veteran’s Administration (VA), which gets the best prices, pays for drugs.  However, the VA does not cover all drugs covered by California plans.  California also negotiates other agreements regarding drug prices with providers which may be affected by a new law.  (Los Angeles Times, May 15, 2016.)  There may be 16 issues on the November ballot, in addition to the votes for candidates. OBAMA Administration issues new rule stating salaried workers earning up to $47,476 a year must receive 1 ½ overtime pay when they work more than 40 hours during a week.  The former rate was $23,660, set in 2004.  (New York Times, May 17, 2016.) CALIFORNIA minimum wage scheduled to increase to $15/hour over coming years, with possible delays if economic growth slows and with a slower schedule for smaller businesses. One “metastudy” study of 27 studies, found “if negative effects are present, they are too small to be statistically detectable”.  (California Budget Bites, May 17, 2016.) As a doctor once explained to me (and I paraphrase), 1 study might be right or wrong, but if no effect of a variable (there glucasmine) is found (here, the minimum wage), in a study of studies, there is no effect. CLOUDY and yellowish tap water at L.A. (Watts), school leads to provision of bottled water to students.  Some residents allege that local water supply to households provided untreated well water for the last 6 months.  (Los Angeles Times, May 2, 2016.)  Recently President Obama...

ELDERUPDATES.COM, NO. 122

ELDERUPDATES.COM, No. 122 MAY 12, 2016   GOVERNOR Brown signs new law raising age to buy tobacco and vaping products from 18 to 21, but exempting active military personnel from new age requirements.  (Los Angeles Times, May 5, 2016.) ANNUAL contribution limits for health savings accounts will increase to $3,400 for individuals and remain at $6,750 for individuals with family coverage. People born before 1963 may put in an additional $1,000 contribution.  (Kiplinger Tax Letter, May 6, 2016.) HEALTH care mergers continue with Abbott Laboratories $25 B takeover of St. Jude Medical, combining 2 of the biggest makers of medical devices for hearts.  (The Economist, May 7, 2016.) REGARDLESS who wins the election military spending will grow up to $120 billion over the next few years. (The Kiplinger Letter, May 6, 2016.) AMERICANS are saving again, but at a rate of 5%, less than the historical rate of 11%.  As Americans save less and spend more is stimulate the economy but also leaves Americans less prepared for retirement. (The Kiplinger Letter, May 6, 2016.)  Some leftist economists refer to this phenomenon as a “contradiction of capitalism”. CALIFORNIA lawmakers are considering an increase in the exemption amounts for people in bankruptcy to facilitate their economic recovery and that of the small businesses which many own. (AARP Bulletin, May, 2016.) LOS Angeles City homeless population increases in to 47,000, even as number of homeless veterans declines, an 11% increase over last year.  Los Angeles County homeless rate increased 5.7% over the same period.   (Los Angeles Times, May 5, 2016.) OLYMPUS medical scopes continue to cause illness, with 3 more deaths potentially linked...

ELDERUPDATES.COM, NO. 121

ELDERUPDATES.COM, 121 MAY 1, 2016 IN another case involving cell phone privacy the federal government is demanding a person to provide their fingerprint to open a phone.  The Supreme Court has already held people in custody provide fingerprints and other physical data.  The case is part of the beginning of what promises to be a long war over cell phone access.  (Los Angeles Times, April 30, 2016.) MEDICARE Advantage Plans to have more competition in their bidding, if Obama Administration gets its way.  Government proposing to award contracts to lowest bidders, with a built in bump of 5% above the average bid.  One way to influence reimbursement is for providers to “upcode” a diagnosis to make enrollees seem sicker than they really are.  (New York Times, May 2, 2016.) AS Elderupdates “goes to press” John Kasich has announced he will suspend his campaign, leaving Trump as the only current contender for the Republican nomination. 7 Habits of Highly Frugal People: Know how much is going out and coming in; Begin with a goal in mind; Pay yourself first, with savings, before paying others; Sometimes you can reduce consumption and be just as happy with the substitute; Frugal people need, or teach themselves to need, less “stuff”; Synergize – exercise in your home instead a gym, for example, saves money now and also improves your health; and Learn how to save from blogs and books on frugality. They could have added an 8th habit; Never pay interest on your credit cards even if it means you have to reduce your standard of living (that you apparently cannot afford or you wouldn’t...