Monday, September 24, 2012

On Absence

"One day I will find the right words, and they will be simple."
-- Jack Kerouac, The Dharma Bums

I will be the first to admit that this space is neglected. When I began writing for BravesWire, my carefree writing flowed easily there and my thoughts for this blog became muddled. Of course, this is comparing apples to oranges. Baseball beat writing is not like writing about history and politics.

In the past week alone, I missed the chance to mention stories about three of the seven people who grace my masthead. Chris Carlson wrote a great piece on Gracie Pfost calling her the "Lioness of Idaho," a title I find fitting. There is a new film on the life and legend of Jackie Robinson, 42. And people the world over celebrated the third annual Eunice Kennedy Shriver Day.

There are a dozen stories in the queue here awaiting completion, completion that may or may not come. Some of the pieces I am attached to, Japanese internment and Ezra Pound in particular, but there are several that would be better off in the trash. If I could focus on the top two or three, I would consider that progress. That is my goal. And I hope you will all be patient with whatever I may post until these pieces are completed.

Friday, September 21, 2012

TGIF Tunes

My favorite song of the last few weeks, "Soundtrack" by the Damnwells.

ACA Already Helping Idaho Seniors

Editor's Note: This landed in my inbox today and I found the numbers striking. The Medicaid expansion debate in Idaho aside, the Affordable Care Act is making a difference in the lives of Idaho seniors. Whether or not these Idaho seniors and Idaho voters at large understand and accept these facts prior to the election is, of course, another story.

News Release

U.S. Department of Health & Human Services                                                          
News Division                                                                                                   

Friday, September 21, 2012

Through the Affordable Care Act, Americans with Medicare will save $5,000 through 2022
Seniors in Idaho Have Saved $17.6 Million on Prescription Drugs This Year; 73,342 Received Free Preventive Care in 2012

Thanks to the health care law – the Affordable Care Act – the average person with traditional Medicare will save $5,000 from 2010 to 2022 according to a new report released today by the Department of Health and Human Services. People with Medicare who have high prescription drug costs will save much more – more than $18,000 – over the same period.

The Department of Health and Human Services also announced that thanks to the health care law, seniors and people with disabilities in Idaho have already saved $17,629,684 on prescription drugs since the law was enacted.  Seniors in Idaho in the Medicare prescription drug coverage gap known as the “donut hole” have saved an average of $596 in the first eight months of 2012 alone. In addition, during the first eight months of 2012, 73,342 people with original Medicare received at least one preventive service at no cost to them.

“I am pleased that the health care law is helping so many seniors save money on their prescription drug costs,” Secretary Sebelius said.  “A $5,000 savings will go a long way for many beneficiaries on fixed incomes and tight budgets.”

The health care law includes benefits to make Medicare prescription drug coverage more affordable. In 2010, anyone with Medicare who hit the prescription drug donut hole received a $250 rebate. In 2011, people with Medicare who hit the donut hole began receiving a 50% discount on covered brand-name drugs and a discount on generic drugs. These discounts and Medicare coverage gradually increase until 2020 when the donut hole is closed.

Nationwide, over 5.5 million people have saved nearly $4.5 billion on prescription drugs since the law was enacted.  This includes $195 million in savings on prescriptions for diabetes, over $140 million on drugs to lower cholesterol and blood pressure, and $75 million on cancer drugs so far this year. 

The health care law also makes it easier for people with Medicare to stay healthy. Prior to 2011, people with Medicare had to pay for many preventive health services. These costs made it difficult for people to get the health care they needed. For example, before the health care law passed, a person with Medicare could pay as much as $160 for a colorectal cancer screening.  Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, many preventive services are now offered free of charge to beneficiaries, with no deductible or co-pay, so that cost is no longer a barrier for seniors who want to stay healthy and treat problems early.

In 2012 alone, 19 million people with traditional Medicare have received at least one preventive service at no cost to them.  This includes 1.9 million who have taken advantage of the Annual Wellness Visit provided by the Affordable Care Act – almost 600,000 more than had used this service by this point in the year in 2011.  In 2011, an estimated 32.5 million people with traditional Medicare or Medicare Advantage received one or more preventive benefits free of charge.

For more information on the estimate that the average Medicare beneficiary will save $5,000 from 2010 to 2022 as a result of the health care law, please visit:

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Walk and Talk the Vote

Who would have guessed it would take a non-partisan, Michigan judicial race to bring us Donna Moss, Will Bailey, C.J. Cregg, Josh Lyman, Toby Zeigler and Jed Bartlet in a political ad? Apparently, all you need is for your sister to be Mary McCormack. I present to you "Walk and Talk the Vote" for Bridget Mary McCormack of Michigan.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

DNC Tribute to Ted Kennedy

Introduced by Joe Kennedy III, candidate for the Massachusetts House seat being vacated by Barney Frank, came this powerful tribute to the late Senator Edward M. Kennedy. The footage of the 1994 Senate race between Kennedy and Mitt Romney should be used often by the Obama campaign between now and election day.

 This is the first Democratic National Convention that has not included Ted Kennedy on its roster since 1956. His absence continues to be felt immensely by the Democratic Party.

Saturday, September 1, 2012