Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Cornell LR Symposium on Social Security

Symposium:  Social Security in Transition.  92 Cornell L. Rev. 189-395 (2007).

Bloch, Frank S.  Medical proof, social policy, and Social Security's medically centered definition of disability.  92 Cornell L. Rev. 189-234 (2007).

Colloquy.  The Social Security Administration's New Disability  Adjudication Rules.  92 Cornell L. Rev. 235-255 (2007).

Bloch, Frank S., Jeffrey S. Lubbers and Paul R. Verkuil.  The Social Secrity Administration's new disability adjudication rules: a significant and promising reform.  92 Cornell L. Rev. 235-247 (2007).

Rains, Robert E.  A response to Bloch, Lubbers & Verkuil's The Social  Security Administration's new disability adjudication rules:  a cause for optimism.and concern.  92 Cornell L. Rev. 249-255 (2007).

Colloquy.  Social Security and Government Deficits.  92 Cornell L. Rev. 257-296 (2007).

Buchanan, Neil H.  Social Security and government deficits:  when should we worry?  92 Cornell L. Rev. 257-289 (2007).

Templin, Benjamin A.  Comment on Neil H. Buchanan's Social Security and government deficits:  when should we worry?  92 Cornell L. Rev. 291-296 (2007).

Burke, Karen C. and Grayson M.P. McCouch.  Social Security reform:  lessons from private pensions.  92 Cornell L. Rev. 297-322 (2007).

Medill, Colleen E.  Transforming the role of the Social Security Administration.  92 Cornell L. Rev. 323-361 (2007).

Rains, Robert E.  Professional responsibility and Social Security representation:  the myth of the state-bar bar to compliance with federal rules on production of adverse evidence.  92 Cornell L. Rev. 363-395 (2007).

February 28, 2007 in Retirement, Social Security | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Blue Cross says proposed cuts will hurt Medicare Advantage enrollees

Proposed cuts to a popular Medicare program would lead to sharp increases in costs for recipients, including many in Western Pennsylvania, Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association officials said yesterday.

Congress has already approved $13 billion in cuts for the Medicare Advantage program starting this year, and legislators are considering more reductions as they look to offset other spending priorities.

"Further cuts to the program would have absolutely disastrous consequences," said Alissa Fox, vice president of legislative and regulatory policy for the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. She warned of higher premiums, reduced benefits and fewer plans.

Medicare Advantage is provided through private insurers who receive payments from the federal government. It focuses more on "coordinated" care than traditional Medicare, helping seniors manage chronic illnesses such as diabetes. Nationwide, 8.3 million people are enrolled in Medicare Advantage

Source and more: Pittsburgh Post Gazette

February 28, 2007 in Medicare | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Monday, February 26, 2007

Storrs lectures on the two legged retirement stool...

Storrs Lectures – Monday, March 5 and 6

On Monday and Tuesday, March 5 and 6, 2007, at 4:30 p.m. in the Yale Law School Faculty Lounge, Alicia Munnell, the Peter F. Drucker Chair in Management Sciences at Boston College’s Carroll School of Management and Director of the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College, will deliver the Storrs Lectures entitled, “The Declining Number of Players in the Retirement Income Game.”  She will develop the view that the number of participants in the retirement income system has dropped from three (formerly government, employers, and the individual)to two (government and the individual).  She will explain that the withdrawal of employers has major implications for government and will put an increasing proportion of older Americans at risk.

Monday’s lecture (March 5), “The Withdrawal of Business” will describe the evolution of the roles of the three players and document how the withdrawal of employers has occurred at a time when the retirement landscape has become more treacherous. In her second lecture on Tuesday (March 6), “The Implications for the Individual and Government,” she will provide evidence on how the changing retirement environment will put increasing numbers at risk, and will discuss steps that government can take to help.

February 26, 2007 in Retirement | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Friday, February 23, 2007

Ninth Circuit says pension can be seized to pay restitution

The federal government can seize a convicted criminal's pension to repay victims of the crime for their losses, a federal appeals court ruled Thursday.  The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco, the first appellate court in the nation to address the issue, ruled 10-5 that a 1996 law entitling victims of federal crimes to restitution overrides an earlier federal law protecting retirement funds from being confiscated to pay debts.  The court said the government does not have unlimited power to take money from a pension and can collect restitution only from funds that the criminal defendant is entitled to receive immediately, as post-retirement benefits or advance lump-sum payments. But the court said Congress intended to make a wide range of funds available to crime victims.  The clearest evidence, said Judge Marsha Berzon, is the language of the 1996 restitution law, which said criminal fines and restitution may be collected from all property of the defendant, "notwithstanding any other federal law.''  But dissenting Judge William Fletcher said the Supreme Court has ruled that pension funds are off-limits, unless Congress explicitly authorizes their seizure, as it did in a law allowing the Internal Revenue Service to collect back taxes from retirement accounts.  Lawmakers considered and rejected such legislation in 1996 as a companion measure to the restitution law, Fletcher said. He quoted a 1997 Supreme Court ruling, in a nonrestitution case, that pronounced "a pension law protective policy of special intensity: Retirement funds shall remain inviolate until retirement.''

Source:  San Francisco Chronicle,

Access the en banc decision, U.S v. Novak

February 23, 2007 in Retirement | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Baum lecturer says organs for sale is A-OK

The 2007 Ann F. Baum Memorial Elder Law Lecture will be presented on Monday, March 5 at 12:30 P.M. in the Max Rowe Auditorium at the University of Illinois by Dr. Sally L. Satel, resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, D.C. on “When Altruism Isn't Enough: The Worsening Organ Shortage, What It Means for Seniors, and What To Do About It.”



February 23, 2007 in Ethical Issues | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Americans support "painful" measures to fix Social Security

A majority of Americans support potentially painful proposals to increase taxes and reduce benefits in order to ensure Social Security's long-term financial future, according to a poll released Wednesday.  "I think the public is ahead of Congress and the Washington debate when it comes to Social Security," said John Rother, policy director for AARP, the nation's largest organization for Americans 50 and older, which conducted the survey.  Without any changes, the Social Security program is expected to be unable to pay full benefits beginning in 2040. During the next 75 years, the program is expected to fall more than $4 trillion in the red.  Efforts to address Social Security's long-range financial problems ground to a halt in late 2005 after Congress and the public balked at President Bush's proposal to create private investment accounts using Social Security taxes.  William Novelli, AARP's chief executive officer, said the poll shows that Social Security changes need to include both more revenue and changes in benefits. Bush had rejected a tax increase to solve the problem.

Source:  Wilmington (NC) Star,

Ed:  What would it take?  Check out Prof. Jon Forman's powerpoints.   So,  OK Dems:  do you have the .. hmm...guts?  Now is your chance.  Do something.  And while you're at it, how about a fix for Medicare too?

February 23, 2007 in Social Security | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, February 22, 2007

A new theory of elder abuse ...

From the Santa Barbara Independent:Michael_2

Two years after Manuela Ruiz died from a massive heart attack, her family filed suit alleging negligent and intentional infliction of distress, elder abuse, and conspiracy against pop singer Michael Jackson and Santa Maria’s Marian Medical Center. The civil suit, filed in Santa Barbara County Superior Court on February 15, centers on the day Jackson was admitted to Marian for flu-like symptoms in an apparent attempt to skip out on his child molestation trial. To ensure the celebrity’s privacy, hospital staff moved Ruiz, who was on life support after suffering a heart attack that morning, to an examination room. After the move – which involved temporarily taking Ruiz off a respirator – Ruiz, 73, suffered a second and fatal heart attack.

Ed: Wow! 

February 22, 2007 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

New AARP Global Aging updates

  • AARP to Hold "Reinventing Retirement Asia" Conference in Tokyo
  • AARP Bulletin: House Passes Bill Requiring Lower Drug Price Negotiations
  • New Edition of Aging Advances Released Featuring the Latest Home Care Robots
  • AARP Announces First Global Network Serving Maturing Populations on International Scale
  • AARP Public Policy Institute Releases Comparative Report on New European Pension Plans
  • Ad Campaigns Show AARP's Commitment to All Generations
  • AARP Presenta "Feria de la Segunda Juventud"
  • Events
Get it here.

February 22, 2007 in Other | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

NASI and NAPA call for papers (proposals due Mar 1)

The National Academy of Social Insurance (NASI) and National Academy of Public Administration are undertaking an analysis of the management and administrative issues that arise in expanding health coverage.  As part of this project, the academies are soliciting manuscripts from researchers, practitioners, and policy analysts working on these issues.  Manuscripts may identify the core administrative functions that need to be performed in assuring access to health coverage, describe how these functions are performed at present and under proposed alternatives, draw lessons from experience in the U.S. and abroad, and assess suggested administrative and management approaches designed to facilitate the improvement or expansion of health care coverage. Manuscripts may report empirical analyses, best practices, thought pieces, issue papers, or literature reviews. Manuscripts will be included as chapters in an edited book to be published by M.E. Sharpe publishers. Papers on the following topics are of particular interest:

·        Opportunities for standardizing insurance products and promoting common practices among insurers to reduce administrative costs,
·        Facilitating enrollment in health insurance plans,
·        Administering employer and individual mandates,
·        Administering tax credits for health insurance,
·        Administering income-tested premiums, subsidies, or copayments,
·        Regulating health insurance (including ERISA issues),
·        Administrative and management structures that would support controlling health care costs, measuring performance, and assuring quality, and
·        Administrative lessons from state-based efforts to take the lead or other steps to expand coverage.

Interested authors should submit a one-page proposal by March 1, 2007, to Terry Buss at summarizing the paper you intend to write.

Proposals received after this date will be considered on a space-available basis. If your proposal is accepted, your completed paper will be due to us by August 1, 2007. You may submit a completed paper at any time for consideration.

February 22, 2007 in Health Care/Long Term Care | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

New blog for family caregivers

Kathy Hatfield publishes a blog for family caregivers,, that offers "the lighter side of caregiving".

Here's a sample entry:

Dad and I took a nice ride in the convertible yesterday.  We live in North Carolina, and it is warm, but usually you cannot go “top down” in late February.  Dad’s first car was a convertible.  A 1932 Model A Ford convertible.  He remembers that all right.  He had seven convertibles in all, the last one sold by my mother’s father shortly after my parents married.  My mother had beautiful hair, and that was what ended the convertible days for Dad.  She was more important.  Each time we ride without the top, he tells me again and again that he missed the convertible for those forty years, but he would do it all again for that beautiful hair. 

Sometimes when you live with someone with dementia, the repeating of stories drives you crazy. That one, he can repeat a million times.

Visit the blog at

February 22, 2007 in Health Care/Long Term Care | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Ireland: Irish Council for Bioethics to release report on advance directives

Posted today at

According to media reports this morning (Irish Times | RTE), the Irish Council for Bioethics will today publish a report on the ethical and legal issues surrounding the structure, content and practicality of implementing advance directives or living wills. This is a very important development, much to be welcomed.

Advance directives or living wills are a statement of someone’s wishes and views regarding matters such as the forms of medical treatment to be administered or not, in circumstances where the person concerned is not in the future in a position to decide or communicate about such matters. They are prepared when the persons concerned are mentally capable to be used when they have lost the capacity to participate in the decision-making process.

The ICB’s call is a timely one. At present, in Irish law, the status of such advance directives or living wills is unclear (see Older People in Modern Ireland, pp 89, 130, 141, 151, 162). They are certainly one factor which decision-makers (such as a next-of-kin, medical personnel, and the courts) take into account, but there is in Ireland no equivalent of the UK’s Mental Capacity Act 2005, which from April 2007 will provide for the enforceability of advance directives. Such a development in Ireland would be an excellent complement to the pending Mental Capacity and Guardianship Bill, 2007, and may even find a ready and speedy home in an amendment to that Bill.

Ed: Thanks to Dr Eoin O'Dell  for bringing this to my attention.

February 22, 2007 in Advance Directives/End-of-Life | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Marquette Law School Elder’s Advisor Symposium on March 29, 2007

Marquette Law School Elder’s Advisor Symposium:
Thursday, March 29, 2007

Marquette University Alumni Memorial Union Milwaukee, Wisconsin Registration and detailed schedule of conference events at:

The Deficit Reduction Act (DRA) of 2005 is a complex piece of legislation that instituted controversial changes to government assistance in nursing home and home care payments, particularly those affecting chronically disabled elders of modest means. On Thursday, March 29, 2007, the Marquette Law School Elder’s Advisor is hosting a symposium to analyze the DRA and how it affects long-term care. Four speakers who are experts in elder law and long-term care will present papers at the symposium critiquing and analyzing the DRA, while two panels following the speakers will react to the presentations and discuss the challenges posed by the DRA in Wisconsin and other states. Please consider registering for this unique opportunity!

Conference questions? Contact Amy Watson at (414) 517-7111 or e-mail:

February 21, 2007 in Other | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Feb 23 briefing to explore long term sustainability of Medicaid

Briefing to Explore Long-term Sustainability of Medicaid on February 23

A Kaiser study on the long-term sustainability of Medicaid will be released at the Health Affairs sponsored briefing, "The Future of Medicaid: Is It Sustainable, and Should It Be Reformed?" on Friday, February 23, from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. The briefing features Richard Kronick, Professor and Chief, Division of Health Care Sciences, University of California, San Diego and David Rousseau, Principal Policy Analyst, Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured and Director,, authors of the Kaiser study. It also includes John Holahan, Director, Health Policy Center, Urban Institute, and Alan Weil, Executive Director, National Academy for State Health Policy, authors of a second paper assessing reform options, and discussants Jean Lambrew, Senior Fellow, The Center for American Progress and Associate Professor for Health Policy, George Washington University; and Howard Cohen of HC Associates Inc.; with John Iglehart, Founding Editor, Health Affairs.

More info.

February 20, 2007 in Medicaid | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Monday, February 19, 2007

Not elder law: World's oldest embrace preserved

Italian archaeologists say they will not disturb the bonds of the Stone Age couple who've been grabbing headlines the world over since their discovery was first announced last week.  Instead of removing bones from the recently discovered dig one-by-one and then reassembling them later, the team of archaeologists will scoop up the entire patch of ground surrounding the couple to keep the two in place.  Scientists will then examine the Neolithic lovers hoping to demystify the circumstances surrounding their death andKiss hopefully give insight into their life as well.  They will then be handed over to Mantua's Archaeological Museum, where they will be put on display.  The two - believed to be a young man and woman - were unearthed in the northern city of Mantova and are believed to be between 5,000 and 6,000 years old, making this the oldest known embrace in human history.  It is only fitting that the couple was discovered near Verona - the setting of Shakespeare's tragic tale, Romeo and Juliet.  Dubbed the 'Lovers of Valdaro' for the suburb where they were found, it is actually still uncertain whether the two were even of opposite sex.

 Read more.

February 19, 2007 in Other | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

KFF updates Medicare fact sheets

The Kaiser Family Foundation this week issued two updated fact sheets summarizing key aspects of the Medicare program. The Medicare at a Glance Fact Sheet provides a basic overview of the Medicare program, including how it is financed, who is eligible, and what benefits are covered under the program. The Medicare Advantage Fact Sheet provides an overview of the private health plans serving Medicare beneficiaries, including recent trends in plan participation and beneficiary enrollment, data on benefits and premiums, and information on how Medicare pays participating plans.

Get the updated fact sheets here.

February 19, 2007 in Medicare | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Elder mediation featured on CBS news tomorrow (Feb. 20)

A segment on Elder Mediation will be featured on the CBS Evening News with Katie Couric at 6:30 pm on Tuesday, February 20th as part of a weeklong series on Caregiving in America.  The piece will feature an interview with a family that participated in mediation through Elder Decisions in Massachusetts and a clip of the mediation process from a training video produced by the Montgomery County Mediation Cener in Pennsylvania.

This is a great opportunity for families and care providers to become exposed to elder mediation.  Be sure to tune in!

And don't forget to register for the upcoming First National Symposium on Ethical Standards for Elder Mediation, April 19-20, 2007 at Temple University's James E. Beasley School of Law in Philadelphia, PA.  For more information and registration, go to or e-mail Kathryn Mariani at

February 19, 2007 in Elder Abuse/Guardianship/Conservatorship | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, February 17, 2007

DOL announces long-term care worker training grants

The U.S. Department of Labor's Employment and Training Administration (ETA) today announced a grant competition for approximately $2.5 million to be invested in training for the healthcare industry's long-term care sector under the President's High Growth Job Training Initiative.

"Frequent medical advances and the graying of America are signs that the future of healthcare increasingly lies with the caring professionals who work in long-term care," said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Employment and Training Emily Stover DeRocco. "In regions throughout the country, the workforce investment system stands ready to partner with and respond to the needs of long-term care providers."

Awards made through this competition will support industry-driven training solutions that address the long-term care sector's workforce challenges. Chief among them are high turnover rates and the need to build a pipeline of skilled workers for the future. Each solution must take place as part of a regional strategic partnership among long-term care employers, education and training providers, and the workforce investment system, as well as other public and private sector partners who bring critical assets to the table.

Read more in Earth
Access the RFP.

February 17, 2007 in Health Care/Long Term Care | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Australia: Elder abuse reports result in few prosecutions

Twenty-nine cases of elder abuse have been reported to the federal government in the past seven months.   The Department of Health and Ageing on Tuesday said it had received six allegations since November 30, in addition to 23 already received since the start of the financial year.  "In total, there are seven charges that have been laid," Carolyn Scheezt, an assistant secretary in the department said in response to a question during Senate estimate hearings.  "One of these charges relates to the son of a resident and the others relate to staff."  But the department said it was unable to investigate allegations of abuse in an Adelaide nursing home because the witnesses had refused to provide information.  Senior departmental figures slammed two Flinders University academics who published research showing what they claimed was widespread aged care abuse in Adelaide.  The academics cited "disgusting" examples witnessed during student fieldwork, including patients forced to sit in their own faeces for long periods of time and a patient with dementia left upside down, with her naked bottom in the air with faeces visible.  But Ageing Minister Santo Santoro criticised the researchers for their failure to immediately report the alleged abuse, which occurred four years ago but was not published until earlier this month.

Read more at The

February 13, 2007 in Elder Abuse/Guardianship/Conservatorship | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Monday, February 12, 2007

Neither rain, no snow, nor nursing homes can keep them apart

Seniors work hard to keep their marriages alive and well, even after one spouse falls ill and goes into a long-term care facility, according to a new study from the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada.  Researcher Robin Stadnyk was surprised to discover that community-dwelling spouses were heavily involved in the lives of their institutionalized partners, and that many of the couples stayed active together both inside and outside the nursing home.  Stadnyk, a post-doctoral researcher in the University of Alberta's Department of Human Ecology, reviewed data from a qualitative study of 52 community-dwelling spouses in three Canadian provinces: Alberta, Manitoba and Nova Scotia, for her PhD research. She found that the participants were heavily involved in their spouses' lives, not only through caretaking duties like doing laundry and helping with personal hygiene, but also through nurturing activities that brought them closer together."  Most participants described close relationships with their spouses before the placement in a long-term care home. They simply found ways they could continue that closeness within the institutional walls," Stadnyk noted. Marriage-sustaining activities included watching TV together, studying travel brochures and reviewing diaries to relive old memories, even taking painting lessons together.  Some spouses also brought their partners home for regular weekly and even daily visits. One 82-year-old man in the study took weight-training so he could lift his wife in and out of the car for the weekly trip home."The findings defy the common assumption that the partnership of marriage effectively ends when one spouse enters a care facility," Stadnyk said.  Even husbands and wives whose partners had dementia continued to nurture their marriages, shifting from roles as give-and take-partners to benevolent caretakers. They made sure favourite treats were available for their spouses, and that they were able to attend special events.   The results were published recently in the journal Topics in Geriatric Rehabilitation.

Source:   Eureka Alert

Access the journal article.

February 12, 2007 in Housing | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Friday, February 9, 2007

Hidden in Bush budget: drastic cuts in VA health care for Iraq vets

According to the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities: 

Data from back-up information provided by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to the Congressional Budget Committees (but not made readily available to the public) show that key domestic priority areas — including areas such as education, environmental protection, veterans health care, and medical research — would be slated for large funding cuts over the 2008 to 2012 period. 

While the budget documents the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) released on February 5 spell out the President’s proposed funding levels for each discretionary program for fiscal year 2008, they do not specify the funding levels that the President is proposing in discretionary programs for years after 2008.[ii]  Breaking with normal budgeting procedures, the Administration has chosen for each of the past three years not to show in its standard budget materials the funding levels that it is proposing for each discretionary program or “budget account” for years after the coming fiscal year (in this case, for years after fiscal year 2008). 

Nevertheless, some important information on the Administration’s planned cuts in discretionary programs in the years 2009-2012 is available.  Data are available on the overall funding levels that the President is proposing for each of the next five years for the discretionary programs in each of 15 broad budget categories in the budget, known as “budget functions.”  Data on the overall discretionary funding levels the Administration is proposing also are available for each of the 74 smaller budget categories known as budget “subfunctions.”  These data come from OMB “back-up” documents provided to the Congressional Budget Committees (but not made readily available to the public). ..

Hospital and Medical Care for Veterans: The President proposes to increase funding for these programs by nearly $1.4 billion (or 4 percent) in 2008.  But the increase would only be temporary.  The President proposes to cut the programs in this subfunction in each subsequent year, from 2009 through 2012; in each of those years, the programs would be funded at levels below the amount provided for 2007, adjusted for inflation.  In 2012, the cut would be $2.7 billion, or 7 percent.[iii]

Read the full report at

Ed:  An interesting way to honor our nation's military servicemen and women...

February 9, 2007 in Health Care/Long Term Care | Permalink | TrackBack (0)