In this regular weekend feature you will find links to news items from the preceding week related to elders and aging, along with whatever else catches my fancy that I think you might like to know. Suggestions are welcome with, however, no promises of publication.
A Calm Beginning Today Because most of the rest of this week's Elder News is devoted to health care reform which is proving to make almost everyone testy, let's catch our collective breath first.
This amazing photograph arrived from Darlene Costner of Darlene's Hodgepodge who is one of the strongest elder supporters of health care reform. It is sunset at the North Pole with the sun below the moon. Gorgeous.
”Deathers” Prevail This is how bad it is in health care reform land this week: Thanks to the ignorant masses at town hall meetings (too many of them elders), right-wing media blatherers and Sarah Palin's fictional death panels - all of whom have scared the pants off our timid legislators - Republican Senator Charles Grassley of Iowa, on Thursday, announced that the end-of-life provision in the Senate Finance Committee's health care reform bill has been dropped. Read more here.
End of Life Planning Senator Grassley and the "deathers" need to consider this column about people without end of life plans titled, The Dignity to Die is Part of Our Shared Humanity. (Hat tip to Chancy of driftwoodinspiration.)
ELDERS FOR HEALTH CARE REFORM Next Thursday, 20 August, has been set aside as the day for elders to rise up and show Congress and the U.S. that not all of us want to keep our single-payer system – Medicare – and deny everyone else similar benefits, which is how it appears, to my deep embarrassment, in widespread media coverage of town hall meetings and interviews with elders.
If you have not read it, the initial post for this project is here. Please plan to join in on 20 August if you have a blog.
Spreading the Word Jan Adams who writes the monthly Gay and Gray column for Time Goes By and blogs at Happening Here, has been spreading the word for 20 August around the web. Two of her posts are here and here.
Jan also created this Elderblogger For Health Care Reform badge that you can post on your blog. I've linked mine to my original post for the project. You can link yours to anything you think will explain our point of view and spread the word. (Right click to save the badge to your hard drive so you can post it at your blog.)
Desperation of the Uninsured So many people showed up for the first day of week-long, free health clinic in California that hundreds were turned away. Fifteen-year-old Ayana Kleckner slept on the sidewalk overnight to be sure to get an appointment:
“"This is a miracle, but people shouldn't have to sleep on the street to get medical care,' Ayana said while waiting for an eye exam. 'It was adventurous, if you could put it that way, but I don't think I should have to go through that to make sure I'm healthy.'"
A key point about this free health clinic is that it is run by the Remote Area Medical Volunteer Corps which, for 25 years, has provided health care services to third world countries.
Uninsured and Dying A study from the Institute of Medical Analysis reports that 22,000 Americans die each year due to lack of health care coverage. Read it here [pdf]. Since 1993, when Hillary Clinton's health care reform failed, that adds up to more than the number of U.S. soldiers who died in World War II, according to Mark Ames at Alternet. Read his report here.
Health Care Profiteers Did you know that the federal government pays subsidies to insurers who sell Medicare Advantage plans (essentially, private Medicare) amounting to between 13 and 17 percent above what is paid for traditional Medicare? A lot of that goes to the obscene salaries and bonuses for insurance company executives. For more information on insurer excess, watch the video:
U.S. Health Care is NOT the Best NPR has posted an interactive page where you can compare the elements of various countries' health care plans to each other. It is an eye opener. Try it out here.
Ten Awesome Things By analyzing the draft reform bills currently in circulation from Congress, Joshua Holland has produced a list of Ten Awesome Things That Would Happen if Health Care Reform Passes. It's definitely worth reading.
More Health Care Reform Resources In addition to the above to help you further in preparing for 20 August, Slate's Timothy Noah has published a terrific guide to some of the best health care reform information on the web. See it here and use all these resources for your 20 August Elders For Health Care Reform posts.
Senior Moment And here's a little fun to end today's list. You think you've had embarrassing senior moments? Wait until you see this one actor and activist Martin Sheen experienced. Enjoy.