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December 2012
Schlein
Washington Watch

Individual States Critical to Implementing or Blocking Health Care Reform

But if you think the election of President Obama ends the controversy over health care reform, you’d be mistaken. Republican governors may still have the administration over a barrel. Several governors are expected to try and use their leverage to pressure the Obama administration to grant greater flexibility over how they spend their Medicaid dollars.

November 2012
Schlein
Washington Watch

Washington Roundup

"The average senior is going to benefit by carefully scrutinizing their situation, because every year the market changes," Avalere President Dan Mendelson told the Associated Press recently. Avalere crunched the numbers based on bid documents that the plans submitted to Medicare. The report found premium increases for all top 10 prescription plans, known as PDPs.

October 2012
Schlein
Washington Watch

The Politics of Medicare: Separating the Facts from the Fiction

In this election season, what seems to have fallen by the side of the road – besides the rhetorical grandmother off the cliff – are facts.

 

In this election cycle, facts don’t seem to be relevant. If you can get your point across rhetorically – and then can reinforce it with millions of dollars of ads – what matters is persuading voters even if what you say is just plain wrong, or a slight mistruth.

September 2012
Schlein
Washington Watch

Stark Differences Define Political Battle over Medicaid

The differences between the Republican vision of Medicaid and the Democratic vision are stark and are among the sharpest issue distinctions between the two parties in the upcoming fall election campaign.

August 2012
Schlein
Washington Watch

Healthcare Law Still Faces Obstacles

This will save seniors hundreds of dollars on prescriptions. Last year, 3.6 million Medicare beneficiaries saved more than $2.1 billion on prescription drugs, an average of $604 per person, as a result of the Obamacare requirement that drug companies provide a 50 percent discount on brand-name drugs for seniors who fall into the doughnut hole coverage gap.

Schlein
Washington Watch

Senior Issues – Drug Reimportation and Shortages, The Doughnut Hole, and Housing Relocation – Facing Mixed Results

The Congressional Budget Office estimated in 2009 that re-importation would save the government $19 billion over 10 years. It was considered in 2010 when the Affordable Care Act was approved, but became collateral damage in negotiations with the pharmaceutical industry as a way to get that industry’s buy-in on the Obama health care legislation.

 

Stopping what could be critical life-saving medication was not what people hoped would happen when patients reached the coverage gap. Medicare and insurance officials hoped seniors would be cost-effective and would look for low-cost alternative options instead of not taking their medicines. But that’s not the case, according to the study. Instead, seniors just stopped taking their essential medicines.

 

The numbers vary sharply by state. Texas and Ohio, for example, have helped thousands of seniors and disabled people find homes in their communities. Others like North Carolina, Missouri and Kentucky, have moved fewer than 500 each. In California, only 827 people have made the jump since 2008, when the state was awarded $41 million during that time.

April 2012
Trussell
Aid for Age

Seniors Still at Work

As of December, 1.31 million seniors 75 and older were working. That’s 25 percent more than in 2005. Not all elderly are working just to stay afloat. Many continue to work because it makes them feel worthwhile; or they have worked so long, it just seems the natural thing to do.

Schlein
Washington Watch

Feds Gear Up to Wage Aggressive War on Alzheimer’s as Defining Disease of Boomers and Beyond

While this issue should get some bipartisan support, since Alzheimer’s doesn’t discriminate between Democrats and Republicans, the big fight will be over where the money comes to pay for increased research dollars in a fiscally-tight economy.

July 2012
Schlein
Washington Watch

Medicare, Social Security Slide into Insolvency Worsened This Year

Once again, trustees forecast that Medicare's hospital fund would begin to run out of money beginning in 2024, but many experts place little importance on the trustees' projection since the program's insolvency has been forecast from as little as two years away to as many as 28 years since 1970.

Trussell
Aid for Age

What Age Retirement Given Ever-Increasing Longevity?

Between 1900 and 2000, life expectancy at birth increased by near 30 years, more than it had increased during the previous 200,000 years of human history. For 65 year olds the mortality rate declined by 55 percent during the 20th century.

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