If you have been listening to the news, you know the House Republicans have finally made good on their promise of repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act – popularly known as Obamacare. But the passage by the House is only the first act of this three-act drama that will affect millions of Americans. Although much of the debate has been focused on providing coverage for pre-existing conditions, there is more in the bill - much of which affects older adults. And from what I can decipher from all the speculation about the bill’s effects, there is both good and bad news for older adults.
The good news is that the Medicare Part D coverage gap (“donut hole”) protections created under Obamacare were not repealed. Since the enactment of Obamacare, more than 11.8 million Medicare beneficiaries have saved over $26.8 billion on prescription drugs.
The bad news is that Medicaid would be cut by $880 billion, or 25%, over 10 years and impose a “per-capita cap” on funding for certain groups including older adults. This is a monumental change and shouldn’t be understated. Since its inception, Medicaid covered any costs if you met the eligibility requirements for the service. But if this bill becomes law, Medicaid will be limited and there will no longer be a guarantee of service.
But what does Medicaid have to do with you? If you are fortunate and have built a nice retirement nest egg - and won’t need long term care such as in-home or nursing home care, probably nothing. But not everyone is sailing that boat.
To emphasize the importance of Medicaid for many older adults, nearly half of all Medicaid spending is for older adults and persons with disabilities which includes covering 60% of all nursing home residents and 40% of costs for long-term care services and supports. That’s a big deal.
But the curtain hasn’t closed. The Senate will undoubtedly make changes, and one can only guess what the final outcome will be. As it winds through Congress, it’s important to follow the legislative process, because for many older adults, the result could determine whether they live with dignity – or not.
The Columbia Center for the Arts in Hood River is offering a special free screening just for older adults of the award-winning documentary, The Cats of MIrikitani, on May 17th at 1:00 PM. The film tells the fascinating story of Japanese-American painter Jimmy Mirikitani, who was interned in Northern California during WWII, traveled to New York City after the war to revive his art career, but ended up homeless during the 90’s.
After the 1-hour film, there will be a short presentation about various Japanese art exhibitions in the Gallery followed by a Gallery tour. You are asked to RSVP to Kristyn Fix at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 541-387-8877 ext. 117. The Columbia Center for the Arts is located at 215 Cascade Avenue in Hood River.
Jan Leininger asked me to announce that the public is invited to the local chapter of the Oregon Retired Educators’ luncheon meeting on Tuesday, May 16th, at the Imperial River Co. in Maupin. The program will feature Linda Oram's 2000-mile hike on the Pacific Crest Trail last year. Luncheon reservations must be made with Wilma Townsend, 541-296-4356, by Thursday the 11th.
Shades of Country will be back playing at the Center on Tuesday night, May 23rd. They have found their country groove and are sounding real good. Music starts at 6:30 and is open to all ages. Donations are always appreciated.
The world-renowned comic actor whose career spanned seventy-five years while directing and starring in silent films and eventually “talkies” was Charlie Chaplin. (Answers were received from Betsy Ayres, Marcia Lacock and this week’s randomly selected winner of a quilt raffle ticket, Jerry Philips.)
Continuing with “they-don’t-make-them-like-they-use-to” Hollywood movies, this week’s “Remember When” question is about a 1952 musical/comedy. What was the name of the movie in which Monumental Pictures' biggest stars, Lina Lamont and Don Lockwood struggled to adapt to “talkies" while Don falls in love with chorus girl Kathy Selden? Email your answer to email@example.com, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or send with the movie The Dancing Cavalier.
Well, it’s been another week, trying to remember to chew before I swallow. Until we meet again, don’t let the sun catch you napping.
“Right now I’m having amnesia and déjà vu at the same time. I think I’ve forgotten this before.” Steven Wright