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January 2017

Senior Health Care Issues Loom Large in New Year, New Administration

Washington Watch


Health care issues are certain to be at the top of president-elect Donald Trump’s agenda when he takes office January 20. But how he handles the controversies sure to erupt around repealing and replacing Obamacare, efforts to turn Medicare into a voucher program, and the nomination of conservative Rep. Tom Price to head the Health and Human Services Department are still to play out over the next few months.


Trump and congressional Republicans have made no secret of their united desire to repeal and replace President Obama’s signature health care law. But now that Republicans are to be in charge of the White House and the Congress, specific details on what to replace Obamacare with, must be answered. At the same time, questions of how to protect the millions of people who have pre-conditions or are covered up to age 26 by their parents’ policies without imposing an individual mandate (as Obama chose), will help determine Trump’s effectiveness as a new president.


Already, House Republicans have raised another issue to the top of their agenda, one that Trump has said he disagrees with. House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., is pushing hard to turn Medicare into a privatized voucher-style program. Trump, during the presidential campaign, regularly pledged not to cut Medicare benefits or Social Security funds for seniors. But Ryan insists it is at the top of his priority list, regardless of Trump’s campaign position.


At the same time, Trump has nominated a steadfast Ryan ally, Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga., as Health and Human Services Secretary. Price, a surgeon by training, who chairs the House Budget Committee, has been Ryan’s top advocate of the Speaker’s plan to transform Medicare from a program that supplies a defined set of benefits into a “premium support” model that would, similar to Obamacare, offer subsidies to participants to purchase health care directly from insurance companies. Price also wants the Medicare eligibility age raised to 67.


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Apron Strings and Jimmy Choo Shoes….

Just Sayin’…


My mother was sitting at her sewing machine as I walked into the kitchen. This was not an unusual site. She was a fabulous seamstress and could turn the simplest patterns into masterpieces.


“What are you making, Mom?” I inquired.


“Oh, I had some scraps of fabrics and thought I would make a few aprons. Mine are looking tired,” she replied as she stitched away.


My mother never entered the kitchen without wearing an apron. Neither did my grandmother, my great-grandmother, and any grandmothers before that. Aprons were as important a staple as a fry pan.


Until the day she died, when I prepared a meal, my mother would ask, “Where is your apron?” She would then reach in my pantry, find an apron and tie one around my waist.


“Why take a chance you could ruin your clothes?” she would say. And, of course, I had no answer.


After Mom passed away I was going through her things. I found the drawer where the aprons lay neatly waiting to be touched again with those loving hands.


I picked them up one by one and looked at the detail. One had appliques she had handstitched along with cross stitched detail.


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