Six unsung heroes were honored recently at the First Annual Molina Healthcare of Wisconsin Community Champions Awards Dinner for their extraordinary service and civic contributions. The pictured above are (front row, left to right): Andy Bhugra, president of Molina Healthcare of Wisconsin; Sally Nickerson (Education Award), Karen Jackson (Advocacy and Civic Leader Award), Zarina Shockley Sparling, senior vice president of Health Plan Operations; Fox 6 Sports Reporter Tom Pipines (Health Care Media Award). (Back row, left to right): Margret MacLeod Brahm (Volunteer Award), Jeanne Phillips (Support Group and Service Club Award), and Melva Henderson (Faith-Based Organization Award). Each honoree received a grant to be given to an organization of their choosing and a Molina Healthcare of Wisconsin Community Champions Award trophy, named in honor of Molina Healthcare’s physician founder Dr. C. David Molina. The event was held at the Tripoli Shrine Center on Wisconsin Avenue. (Photo by Yvonne Kemp)
Health care, human trafficking advocacy and education will be the topic of the Community Brainstorming Conference Breakfast Forum Saturday, Aug. 25 at St. Matthew C.M.E. Church, 2944 N. 9th Street (parking on 8th Street, off Chambers).
The panelists on this topic are: Gwen Moore, Wisconsin’s Fourth District Congresswoman; Bevan Baker, City of Milwaukee Health Commissioner; Tracy M. Johnson, executive assistant U.S. Attorney’s Office; Claudine O’Leary, Rethink Resources; George Hinton, chief administrative officer-Aurora Sinai Medical Center; LaShawndra Vernon, chair of the Milwaukee County Human Trafficking Task Force; Michelle Bryant, African World Festival Women’s Wellness; Dr. Patricia McManus, executive director and CEO of Black Health Coalition of Wisconsin.
The moderators for the forum will be Martha Love and Khalif Rainey. Pam Malone is he chair.
Breakfast will be served at 8 a.m. The forum will start promptly at 9 a.m.
At stake is the direction we as a nation move in on job creation, education, healthcare, the economy and too many other issues that affect our daily lives and future.
But over the next 83 days, campaigns, parties, and super-pacs will be on a “hundred-thousand-trillion”, while many of our organizations and people will allow others to lead during this time of crisis.
There are however, many that are taking this crisis diagnoisis seriously, and in response have called a Code Red Strategy and Action Conference. Faith leaders, congregants, and concerned citizens will gather in Baltimore this week to learn how to and be certified to register voters, connect evangelism and mobilization, receive tech tools to protect voters and develop election-day plans.
This conference which is being called by the Empowerment Movement will be this Thursday through Saturday and will have the likes of Roland Martin, Bishop Vashti McKenzie, Rev. Freddie Haynes and myself providing strategy recommendations. But the real meat of the work will come from professionals like Barbara R. Arnwine of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights, who will breakdown the attack on our voter rights and what we can do to hit back.
Family, this work is essential because the black church has an opportunity to be the difference maker, not just in this election, but in serving as the institution that serves more than its congregants, but truly the communities in which they reside.
Many churches have stayed back from political engagement because of the attacks by the IRS on their 501© 3 status. Others debate if the church can be the force we need it to be politically.
Barbara Dianne Savage, a brilliant scholar at UPenn stated in her book, “Your Spirit Walks Beside Us: The Politics of Black Religion”: “In the first half of the twentieth century, the dominant political narratives treated African-American religion with despair and disdain.
The emergence in the late 1950s of a Southern civil rights movement with churches, church people, and church culture at its center was a powerful and startling departure from that story, rather than a natural progression. In many ways, the movement is best thought of not as an inevitable triumph or a moment of religious revival, but simply as a miracle. It was brief, bold, and breathtaking, difficult to replicate or sustain, and experienced firsthand by only a small remnant of true believers.”
Perhaps that is why we so lift up those times and all that many people of faith worked to change in America. But now is not the time for debate on this history of black faith activism.
Now is the time to live what we want to next chapter to be. For more info or to participate in the free Code Red Conference go to www.Empowermentmovement.org<http://www.Empowermentmovement.org> if you want to do it your way…DO IT. We are all together.
The black church is as diverse as the black community that makes up its congregants and their political views are equally as diverse. Regardless of your political affiliation, shouldn’t we and not a party or campaign be the front line of voter registration, education, GOTV, and protection? It’s Code Red time, family. Will you be part of the team that sits back in crisis or the one that shows up? Your Call. As Always, I’m Jeff Johnson and that’s my truth. –Commentary by Political and Social Commentator Jeff Johnson, courtesy of BlackAmericaweb.com.
by Bryce Covert
It can seem like just a mirage created by the summer heat: Only a few weeks ago the Supreme Court actually handed down a decision that progressives could celebrate. It held that the Affordable Care Act is constitutional, including the individual mandate, meaning that implementation can roll on full steam ahead. I was one of the first to celebrate, in particular for all the ways that the law will help women who need healthcare (which is all of us).
Women will benefit dramatically from the ACA. The law bars practices like charging women more just for being women, dropping women’s coverage if they become pregnant or sick, and denying coverage due to “pre-existing conditions” like having had breast cancer or being a victim of domestic violence. It adds new benefits like birth control coverage at no cost to the patient, expanded coverage of preventative services like prenatal care, mammograms, pap smears and bone-density screenings through Medicare, and requiring insurance companies to cover maternity care.
But one aspect of the Supreme Court’s decision could have some very bad results for women: the ruling that states can opt out of the Medicaid expansion. While this could end up harming men and women, women in particular stand to suffer if states refuse to participate in the program.
The Medicaid expansion is a crucial component of the law’s overall goal of extending coverage to over 30 million uninsured Americans by 2019, covering almost half of the total number of people the bill promised to insure. Originally, the law included a provision that the federal government could take away all of a state’s Medicaid funding if it refused to go along with the expansion, which all but ensured participation. But the Court ruled that such a maneuver was unconstitutional. Just a few days after the decision was announced, seven Republican governors said they would flat-out reject the money to expand Medicaid rolls, with at least eight more looking to follow suit. More have said no since then.
This could create a no-man’s land for those who earn less than 100 percent of the federal poverty line, making them ineligible for tax subsidies to help them buy insurance, but don’t qualify for their state’s (unexpanded) Medicaid program. These Americans are surely struggling to get by, but not quite enough to get health coverage promised to those above and below them.
And women are likely to fall into this chasm. Remember that unexpanded Medicaid does not cover most childless adults. Currently, a woman must meet both categorical and income criteria to qualify for Medicaid: She must be pregnant, a mother of a child under age 18, a senior citizen or have a disability, and each category has income criteria, which differ state by state. Given that women are more likely to be pregnant (duh) but also to fall into the other categories, they are already the majority of enrollees in the program. However, given that many women don’t meet categorical criteria, many don’t qualify, no matter how poor they are. Over 17 million women lived in poverty last year, compared to 12.6 million men.
By 2016, 13.5 million women were expected to get coverage under the Medicaid expansion. That figure is now in danger. As the Kaiser Family Foundation reported before the Supreme Court decision, “Medicaid will be the foundation of health coverage expansions to very low-income women.” But not if some Republican governors get their way.
Many of the states already rejecting the expansion are home to the greatest number of women who would benefit. Texas and Florida top the list for the most uninsured women in their states: about 2.4 million and 1.5 million, respectively, and both states plan to refuse the expansion. (Some of these women were supposed to get coverage through the Medicaid expansion, but some will still qualify for the subsidies and be able to buy insurance in the state exchanges.)
Using Kaiser’s predictions, I calculate that there are over 4.2 million women who would be eligible for the Medicaid expansion by 2014 in the states either refusing or indicating they will refuse to participate. That’s a huge chunk of the 10 million women that were expected to be covered by that time through Medicaid.
Those are the immediate impacts on low-income, uninsured women. The ruling may have other far-reaching impacts on women’s lives, however. As Jessica Mason Pieklo writes at RH Reality Check, the idea that the federal government can’t withdraw all Medicaid funds from states that don’t follow federal requirements might have other consequences. The first may be states that are trying to prevent Medicaid from contracting with providers that also offer abortions (i.e., in many cases, Planned Parenthood). Such a case is going on in Indiana right now.
Planned Parenthood and its affiliate centers provide services to 3 million people annually, including 4 million tests for sexually transmitted infections, 770,000 Pap tests and 750,000 breast exams. Banning Medicaid from contracting with Planned Parenthood will hurt the low-income women who need these services –but states may now have a legal leg to stand on if they try to do just that.
Perhaps the worst thing of all? The excuse that Republican governors are using to get out of the Medicaid expansion may not even hold up. They claim to be worried that even though the federal government will pick up the whole tab for the first few years, the portion they’ll have to pay after that (10 percent) is too burdensome on their budgets. Yet there is evidence that expanding Medicaid could actually help their finances.
Rejecting the Medicaid expansion may not even make fiscal sense, but no matter what it doesn’t make moral sense. It could leave millions of women exposed, unable to afford health insurance but not able to participate in Medicaid.
Warm temps have families creating “Senior Lost and Found Action Plan” to protect their elderly loved ones
(July 2012) – A recent wave of missing seniors has families across the nation on alert for elderly loved ones who are more mobile and active in warm weather and get separated, disoriented or in the worst case, lost and can’t find their way home. This is especially worrisome in the summer heat when seniors can become quickly dehydrated. The warm and bright summer days can be alluring and dangerous for the elderly and that’s why Senior Helpers, one of our nation’s largest in-home care companies for seniors, with caregivers in our area, has launched the “Senior Lost and Found Action Plan.” It’s a powerful checklist for families to follow if their elderly loved one gets separated or lost.
“Every day we care for thousands of elderly people and as the weather heats up we see a huge rise in the number of seniors getting separated, disoriented or even downright lost,” says Peter Ross, CEO and co-founder of Senior Helpers, an in-home senior care company with highly trained caregivers specializing in dementia and Alzheimer’s care. “That’s why we started the “Senior Lost and Found Action Plan” – to make sure seniors have a way to get out of a jam and to give families piece of mind. If families don’t live nearby, we suggest they hire a caregiver to implement this action plan to help watch over their elderly loved one.”
How Seniors Get Lost:
- Driving and forgetting directions or they can’t find their destination.
- They make it to their destination but then can’t find their car in the parking lot.
- Plan to meet at a familiar place and then can’t find it.
- Go with family members and friends to a place and then get separated and/or lost.
- Wander or drive away from home and get completely lost – this is especially a problem with the elderly with dementia and/or Alzheimer’s. Of the 5 million people who suffer from Alzheimer’s, 60 percent of them will wander and become lost at some point during the disease. And sadly, of those who are lost for more than 72 hours, 80 percent never make it home.
Senior Helpers “Senior Lost and Found Action Plan”:
Give your senior a Smart phone and create an “If I’m Lost” folder on the home screen – in the folder, include the senior’s family and caregiver numbers, 911, a cab company phone number, and the senior’s home address.
Install a GPS tracking system on the senior’s cell phone – make sure they have one for their car and they know how to use it.
Make a plastic laminate card with all pertinent information – place this in your senior’s wallet and attach it to their car visor.
Have your senior wear an ID bracelet – they come in very fashionable designs.
For Seniors With Dementia and Alzheimer’s:
Consider disguising the doors in your home – painting or hanging posters on the inside of doors to disguise them as bookshelves or other furniture can often deter a senior from attempting to walk out.
Install door chimes on all entry doors – this alerts those at home whenever a door is opened. This comes in handy especially in a two level home. Security systems also offer this type of alarm.
Alert your local authorities of the RISK of wandering – many local police stations maintain an Alzheimer’s and dementia patient “registry.” Caregivers provide personal information that would be critical in a search and rescue effort, such as name, height, weight, etc…
Caregivers should keep a list of previous homes, occupations – this is helpful if authorities need to search for a senior. Elderly with Alzheimer’s tend to recall former homes, occupations and other milestones as though they are present day. Some seniors with dementia are wandering in attempt to “return to their roots.”
Utilize personal tracking devices – consider buying GPS devices that seniors can wear around their ankles, wrists or even in their shoes.
“A “Senior Lost and Found Action Plan” is especially critical for families with elderly loved ones with dementia or Alzheimer’s. That’s why caregivers trained in Alzheimer’s care can help families keep seniors active and engaged so they don’t wander in the first place,” says Ross. “This action plan is one part of our dementia and Alzheimer’s program called Senior Gems. Families shouldn’t have to worry about their senior every time they leave them. Our Gems caregivers help families cope with every stage of dementia and are a trained partner in the war against this deadly disease. This information is especially valuable this summer when hydration can also play a serious factor when seniors wander away in hot weather.”
Consider the problem with a recent wave of missing seniors…
- San Francisco Bay area, CA (June) – A 69-year-old San Jose man, who suffered from dementia, wandered off and was later found dead just miles from his home in Alviso Marina National Refuge.
- Fenton, MO (June) – Jefferson County deputies have located a 71-year-old woman, suffering from early stages of Alzheimer’s, who wandered from her home. She was found in a creek bed by a police helicopter.
- Niles, OH (April) – An 84-year-old woman wandered away from her room at an assisted living facility and was found dead of apparent hypothermia.
- Kingman, KS (February) – An 89-year-old Kansas man was found dead a day after he and his truck were reported missing. Family members say he usually stops by two of their homes each day, but he never showed up.
To learn more about how to care for your senior loved one with dementia or Alzheimer’s through the Senior Helpers’ Senior Gems Program, please visit our website at www.seniorhelpers.com. There, you can also request a complimentary Senior Gems DVD.
Wauwatosa, WI – The Salvation Army is accepting applications for its Older Adult Camp at Army Lake Camp. Older Adult Camp begins on Monday, August 6 through Friday, August 10. This year’s theme is: “Disney Days.” The camp offers Bible studies, fun programs, crafts, great food and fellowship. Activities will also include a “Kings & Queens” banquet and ball. Camp registration fee is $65.00 and includes housing, meals, crafts and activities. Adults 50 years of age and older can register until July 31 for camp by calling 414-302-4300 extension 2219 or 1-800-264-6412 and ask for Judy. To download a camp registration form visit www.SAmilwaukee.org
( Constitution Daily)
Two polls from well-respected research institutes show many Americans don’t know much about the health care fight in Washington, don’t care about it – or thought the Supreme Court ruled in another direction.
The polls were done independently by the Pew Research Center and the Kaiser Family Foundation, but they have similar results that show a big chunk of the electorate disengaged from the health care reform issue.
Both polls were done after the Supreme Court upheld most of President Barack Obama’s health reform plan on Thursday.
The Pew study showed that despite widespread publicity about the case, just 55 percent of the public knew the Supreme Court upheld most of the health care law. The other 45 percent said they thought the court rejected most of the law (15 percent) or they didn’t know what the court did (30 percent).
Only 37 percent of people under 30 years of age knew what the health care decision was, even though the story was four days old when the survey ended.
That poll was conducted from June 28 to July 1.
The Kaiser study found that only 59 percent of those polled knew that the Supreme Court had issued a ruling upholding the law.
Another 18 percent thought the court hadn’t acted yet, while 17 percent just didn’t know about the case.
Both polls found the public equally divided on the issue, based on party affiliation. The Kaiser study found independent voters equally split.
One telling sign was also in the Kaiser study, where 56 percent wanted opponents of the Affordable Care Act to stop trying to block it and move on to other national problems.
BDO.org – We’ve been hearing about Obamacare for over two years now. The Supreme Court’s recent decision to uphold healthcare mandate has put the Affordable Care Act back in the mainstream, but many people are still very confused about what it’s about, and what it really means for them.
So, how does all of this really affect you?
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as “Obamacare” or “the Health Care Law” was signed into law on March 23, 2010. The law includes more than 90 changes to existing healthcare policy, and while a few of those changes took affect immediately, most of the larger changes will not happen until 2014.
Many medical organizations, including the National Medical Association, is applauding the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the law.
“The ACA is working,” says Dr. Cecil Bright, NMA President. “More seniors can now afford their meds. Young people can stay on their parents’ health plans until age 26. Insurers no longer deny coverage because of pre-existing conditions, or drop people because they get sick. We are doing a better job of coordinating care, and we now have better prospects for preventing chronic disease. This is our best opportunity in a generation to overhaul our health care system. We look forward to working with the States and the Administration to ensure that the reforms are fully implemented.”
What the law means for: The uninsured
The decision leaves in place the so-called individual mandate — the requirement on Americans to have or buy health insurance beginning in 2014 or face a penalty — although many are exempt from that provision.
In 2014, the penalty will be $285 per family or 1% of income, whichever is greater. By 2016, it goes up to $2,085 per family or 2.5% of income.
What the law means for: The insured
Because the requirement remains for people to have or buy insurance, the revenue stream designed to help pay for the law remains in place. So insured Americans may be avoiding a spike in premiums that could have resulted if the high court had tossed out the individual mandate but left other requirements on insurers in place.
What the law means for: People with Medicare
The new law protects guaranteed Medicare benefits. It also improves and expands those benefits, such as lower out-of-pocket drug costs and free Medicare-covered preventative care benefits. Yet another benefit is improved access to primary care doctors. In addition, Medicare recipients will keep getting discounts on drugs to close a gap in coverage known as the “doughnut hole.”
What the law means for: Young adults
Millions of young adults up to age 26 who have gained health insurance due to the law will be able to keep it. The law requires insurers to cover the children of those they insure up to age 26. About 2.5 million young adults from age 19 to 25 obtained health coverage as a result of the Affordable Care Act, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Two of the nation’s largest insurers, United Healthcare and Humana, recently announced they would voluntarily maintain some aspects of health care reform, including coverage of adult dependents up to age 26, even if the law was scrapped.
What the law means for: People with pre-existing conditions
Since the law remains in place, the requirement that insurers cover people with pre-existing medical conditions remains active.
The law also established that children under the age of 19 could no longer have limited benefits or be denied benefits because they had a pre-existing condition.
Starting in 2014, the law makes it illegal for any health insurance plan to use pre-existing conditions to exclude, limit or set unrealistic rates on coverage. It also established national high-risk pools that people with such conditions could join sooner to get health insurance.
More than 13 million American non-elderly adults have been denied insurance specifically because of their medical conditions, according to the Commonwealth Fund. The Kaiser Family Foundation says 21% of people who apply for health insurance on their own get turned down, are charged a higher price, or offered a plan that excludes coverage for their pre-existing condition.
What the law means for: All taxpayers
No matter what the Supreme Court had decided, it would have been a mixed bag for all Americans when it comes to federal spending. There is still much discussion about what impact the health care law will have on the country over the long term.
The federal government is set to spend more than $1 trillion over the next decade to subsidize coverage and expand eligibility for Medicaid. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimated that the law could reduce deficits modestly in the first 10 years and then much more significantly in the second decade.
The CBO said a repeal of the mandate could reduce deficits by $282 billion over 10 years, because the government would be subsidizing insurance for fewer people. But the nation faces costs in various ways for having people who are uninsured. The Urban Institute’s Health Policy Center has estimated that without a mandate, 40 million Americans would remain uninsured.
Meanwhile, the Flexible Spending Accounts that millions of Americans use to save money tax-free for medical expenses will be sliced under the law. FSAs often allow people to put aside up to $5,000 pre-tax; as of 2013, they were to face an annual limit of $2,500.
What the law means for: All Americans
The massive health care law requires doctors to report goodies they get from medical supply companies; demands more breastfeeding rooms; requires all chain restaurants to list calories under every menu item, and includes other provisions, which now remain in place.
What the law means for: Doctors and other health care providers
Health care providers have already begun making changes based on the 2010 law, and in preparation for what will go into effect in 2014.
In general, medical groups have disagreed over the health care law. In the short term, doctors avoid “chaos” that may have resulted from the law suddenly being dropped or changed, according to Bob Doherty, senior vice president of governmental affairs at the American College of Physicians.
I-Witness had to use the services of the Visiting Nurses Association. I want to thank them for their service, especially Jill and Juanita, who were nurses assigned to my care by the association.
They gave me excellent care. They showed true concern for my well being, acting as advocates for my health services.
The Visiting Nurses Association is part of the Aurora Healthcare Family.
Their daily visits to my house not only set me on the path to healing, but saved me a lot of money and time traveling to the hospital/clinics daily or becoming an inpatient.
They are patient and skilled healers who did their job well. (And y’all know I’m not a good patient. Holla!)
Again, I-Witness thanks the Visiting Nurses Association and Juanita and Jill for their excellent care.