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February 4, 2018 E-Newsletter

Publication 2018 Issue 05 Published in house by the RI ARA

State of the Union Speech Presented an Alternate Reality, Not what Older Americans See Statement of Richard Fiesta, Executive Director of the Alliance for Retired Americans, following President Trump’s State of Rich Fiesta the Union address: “There are several things that the President did not say tonight that are troubling for retirees. “He did not mention his campaign promises that he would not cut Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. “This is important because House Speaker Paul Ryan has made a promise time and time again to cut the ‘entitlements’

that millions rely on for basic necessities every day. Numerous Republican leaders have indicated their desire to enact Medicare and Medicaid cuts, and increased deficits from the tax cuts will provide Congress with excuses to make cuts to these programs. We need the President to make clear that his pledge was not just a campaign gimmick. “President Trump also did not mention that when his tax plan did away with the Affordable Care Act's individual mandate, he raised health insurance premiums for 3.3 million people between the ages of 50 and 64.

“Nor did the President acknowledge that the Administration recently loosened regulations on accountability for long term care facilities. This scaled back the use of fines against nursing homes that harm residents or place them in grave risk of injury. It was a giveaway to the corporations that run many nursing homes, so it is no surprise that he did not refer to it. “The State of the Union speech that we heard tonight represents an alternate reality that does not reflect what older Americans are up against in 2018.”

Republicans Announce Plans For Drastic Cuts To Social Security, Raise Retirement Age Now that Republicans retain control of the Executive Branch and both the House and the Senate, sweeping changes are about to be voted on. Chairman Sam Johnson, the Republican Chairman of the Social Security Subcommittee of Ways and Means, just introduced a bill that would deeply cut Social Security as we today know it, not to mention his intention to raise the retirement age from 67 to 69. If the bill passes, which many expect that it will in some form, it will affect all Americans 49 and younger. As soon as the bill was put on the floor, Nancy Pelosi released the following statement, on behalf of Democrats everywhere calling attention to the fact that Medicare was also under attack: “Apparently nothing upsets House Republicans like the idea of hard-working people getting to enjoy a secure and dignified retirement. While Speaker Ryan

sharpens his knives for Medicare, Chairman Johnson’s bill is an alarming sign that Republicans are greedily eying devastating cuts to Americans’ Social Security benefits as well. Cutting Social Security would have devastating consequences for Americans’ retirement security. At a time when Americans are more anxious about their retirement than ever, the top Republican on the Social Security Subcommittee is rolling out legislation that cuts benefits by more than a third, raises the retirement age from 67 to 69, cuts seniors’ cost of living adjustments, and targets benefits for the families of disabled and retired workers. Slashing Social Security and ending Medicare are absolutely not what the American people voted for in November. Democrats will not stand by while Republicans dismantle the promise of a healthy and dignified retirement for working people in America.” Congressman Johnson ironically also calls it his “Plan To Permanently Save

Social Security” even though it will be phasing out benefits for seniors. Trump has previously said on the campaign trail before being elected that he would not touch Medicare or Social Security – but has already went back on his promise for Medicare, saying that legislation and changes would be in the works. It wouldn’t be surprising for him to say the same thing in regards to Social Security. You just knew this was coming. Because of the Trump tax bill, we don't have enough money for senior citizens, disabled and poor. Thank you Koch brothers, and the wealthy Americans who will be rewarded with millions of our money. Read More

Rhode Island Alliance for Retired Americans, Inc. • 94 Cleveland Street • North Providence, RI • 02904-3525 • 401-480-8381 •

Koch network to invest nearly $400M to help protect GOP majorities The influential Koch network plans to invest close to $400 million David Koch Charles Koch toward protecting Republican majorities in the 2018 midterm election cycle, the network's leaders confirmed Saturday -- roughly a 60 percent increase over the group's 2016 spending, they said. "This network is going to have the largest investment we've ever had in a midterm election in 2018," said Tim Phillips, president of Americans for Prosperity, one of the groups under the Koch umbrella. "So, we're all in." The network had previously indicated it was to spend between $300 million and $400 million toward both policy and political objectives. The spending target was previously announced last summer; the network's leaders stressed Saturday that they now anticipate hitting the top of that range by Election Day.

The announcement came as the network's donors were set to convene in the California desert Saturday for an annual retreat. A key component of the Koch networks' strategy to counter a Democratic surge will focus on selling the sweeping tax reform passed by congressional Republicans and signed into law by the president last month. The Koch network plans to spend roughly $20 million on that effort alone, said a spokesman, James Davis -- on par with the investment the network made last year in pushing for the plan's passage. Republicans and the Koch network will have their work cut out for them: When Congress approved the legislation in December, most Americans opposed it. But the plan's boosters have maintained that it will become more popular as the changes begin to take effect this year. "Our job is to make sure we shine a spotlight on those benefits that are occurring because of this law, and over time, that should overwhelm what has been a lot of

demagoguery," said Phillips. "It is a process, though, and we know that." Republicans are bracing for a punishing election year in 2018, a dynamic that Phillips acknowledged. Historically, he stressed, the party in power struggles during a president's first midterm election -- as in 2010, when Democrats lost the House in a historic wave under President Barack Obama. "You're going against the tide," said Phillips. "You're going against history." Another challenge for Republicans is an energized Democratic electorate, Phillips added, as reflected in the Virginia governor's race last fall and recent special elections. "The left is energized," Phillips said. "There's no question about that. And it's prudent for folks to understand that and acknowledge that."

Watch this very informative video on how they are controlling our government.

Supreme Court may deal major blow to labor unions WASHINGTON — The nation's powerful public employee unions stand to lose membership, money and political muscle at the hands of the Supreme Court this year. The only question appears to be how much. On the court's docket next month are fees paid in 22 states by police, firefighters, teachers and other government workers who decline to join unions that must represent them anyway. But much more is at stake in a nation with declining union membership and growing economic inequality. After three tries in 2012, 2014 and 2016, the high court is poised to reverse its own 40 -year-old precedent and strike down the socalled "fair share" fees as unconstitutional. The 1977 ruling said workers did not have to pay for unions' political activity. The verdict expected by June would allow them to contribute nothing at all. If the court's five conservatives vote the way both sides anticipate, public employee unions in traditionally Democratic states in the Northeast and West will lose those workers and the fees they pay. Other lawsuits could follow if workers are allowed to band together and seek refunds for fees already paid. On top of that, unions are braced for a slow bleed of full dues-paying members. Until now, those workers could save only

about 10% to 20% of their costs by quitting the union; a ruling against fair-share fees would enable them to become "free riders." That could force unions to raise dues on those who remain or lose clout in states such as California, New York, Illinois, Pennsylvania and New Jersey. "If they don't see this coming, they're totally blind," says Daniel DiSalvo, a labor expert at the conservative Manhattan Institute. He predicts public employee unions could lose from 10% to 30% of their membership and financing over time. The case, Janus v. American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, will be heard F eb. 26 and decided by the end of June. It's backed by conservative groups that have tried for years to overturn the court's decades-old decision in Abood v. Detroit Board of Education, which upheld charging non-members fees to pay for collective bargaining, but not politics. The court has ruled 7-2, 5-4 and 4-4 on three similar cases in the past six years, eating away at that 1977 decision without overruling it entirely. In 2016, Justice Antonin Scalia's death a month after oral argument denied conservatives their fifth vote — a vote Justice Neil Gorsuch is widely expected to provide.

Less assured is the impact such a ruling would have on organized labor in general, and public employees unions in particular. But after a 70year decline in union membership, the consensus is for more of the same. "If there is no union security in the public sector, we will see the diminution of union density, which is already miniscule in this country," says Angela Cornell, director of Cornell Law School's labor law clinic. "Unions cannot function without resources." From Senator Whitehouse: I thought you might be interested in reading an amicus brief that Senators Blumenthal & myself submitted to the Supreme Court in Janus v. AFSME. The case, which concerns the constitutionality of public sector union agency fees, represents the culmination of a decadeslong, partisan effort to gut public sector employee unions. Their brief highlights the role of dark-money-fueled special interests behind that effort, stresses the importance of neutral principles of justiciability (like standing and stare decisis), and warns of the threat this case poses to the Court’s institutional credibility...Read the Brief ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Rhode Island Alliance for Retired Americans, Inc. • 94 Cleveland Street • North Providence, RI • 02904-3525 • 401-480-8381 •

Federal Government Shutdown Resolved, but Key “Health Extenders” Are Not Funding for the federal government lapsed last Saturday after the Senate rejected a fourweek funding measure. Most Senate Democrats and some Republicans voted against the bill. At issue for most was how to proceed on a permanent fix for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. After three days of negotiations, Congress ended the shutdown on Monday by passing a short-term bill called a Continuing Resolution (CR), which will fund the federal government through February 8th. As part of this deal, Congress reauthorized the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which provides affordable health coverage for over 9 million children—many of whom have family members with Medicare. However, what’s not in the agreement is

also important. It did not resolve the debates that largely contributed to the shutdown, including DACA and immigration, full-year federal funding, and relief from budget caps. Nor did it address several expiring or lapsed issues— specifically, health extenders—that are important to people with Medicare. Lawmakers are now engaged in bipartisan, bicameral negotiations in hopes of reaching agreement on many of these outstanding policies before the current CR expires. With a larger budget deal unlikely by then, another short-term funding measure is expected early next month. It is not yet clear what additional legislative items may be included in the forthcoming package. This week, the Medicare Rights Center and the Center for Medicare Advocacy urged Congress to prioritize older adults and people with disabilities by attaching health extender legislation to the next CR.

Specifically, we support using this opportunity to fully repeal the Medicare therapy caps and extend funding for community-based organizations that provide outreach and benefits enrollment to low-income Medicare beneficiaries. If these policy gaps are not addressed soon, people with Medicare will face increased costs, reduced access to care, and decreased health and economic security. Congress must act without delay to protect and strengthen Medicare by funding and enacting permanent solutions for these vital policies. Medicare Rights also supports the inclusion of the Beneficiary Enrollment Notification and Eligibility Simplification (BENES) Act (S. 1909; HR 2575) in the CR or any other legislative vehicle that addresses our Medicare or federal funding priorities. Read our joint statement with the Center for Medicare Advocacy.

The states where Americans rely on Social Security the most Most workers try to plan for retirement, but in the US, many fall short of their financial goals. According to the Economic Policy Institute, nearly half of families have no retirement savings, and as they near retirement, 50- to 55-year-olds had a median savings of just $8,000 in 2013. With this statistic it is no surprise that more and more retired Americans are relying on Social Security benefits to live. The Social Security Administration estimates these benefits represent about 33% of the income of the elderly, but a new study says that reliance on Social Security depends on where you live. SmartAsset, a personal finance technology company, looked at data for 100 American cities, and compared the average household retirement income for people

over 65 to how much they received in Social Security. The results reveal that retirees in Midwest cities are taking full advantage of the government program. “Seven out of the top 10 cities that rely more heavily on Social Security are in the Midwest,” said AJ Smith, vice president of financial education at SmartAsset. Some of the Midwestern cities in the top

10 include Fort Wayne, Ind. (where Social Security makes up 53% of retirement overall income); Wichita, Kan. (49.94%); Lincoln, Neb. (49.42%); and Milwaukee, Wis. (48.94%). One reason for this is that the cost of living in the Midwest is lower, so people need less money to cover expenses in retirement. Housing in the Midwest is also more affordable. Take Omaha, where the Census Bureau reports that 75% of over-65 households own their home and only 34% of those households are burdened by their housing costs. The city where retirees rely the most on Social Security is Hialeah, Fla., where Social Security makes up 54% of combined retirement and Social Security income….Read More

Sign our Petition: Tell Congress To Lower Prescription Cost!!!! 45 million Americans - more than one in five people - did not fill their prescriptions because of cost in just

even for people with insurance. No one should have to choose between paying for food or their mortgage or paying for their medicines. But one in four Americans say they have had to make just that choice. one year, 2016. recent poll. Since then prescription prices and We know what needs to be done. pharmaceutical corporation profits continue Congress must: to rise, with no end in sight. This must stop!  Allow Medicare to negotiate drug Prescription drug prices are astronomical, prices with pharmaceutical

corporations, like the VA and Medicaid already do  End so-called Pay-For-Delay rules that keep profits artificially high  Make it legal to import safe, lower cost medications from other countries Tell Congress that it's time for legislative action to lower drug prices and give Americans much-needed relief.

Rhode Island Alliance for Retired Americans, Inc. • 94 Cleveland Street • North Providence, RI • 02904-3525 • 401-480-8381 •

Very Interesting Video by Robert Reich One year in and fresh off passing massive tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy, Trump and congressional Republicans want to use the deficit they’ve created to justify huge cuts to Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. Our latest video explains why we must not let them get away with it.

View The Video

Expert Advice For The Corporate Titans Taking On Health Care An announcement Tuesday by three of the nation’s corporate titans — Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan Chase & Co. — that they are joining forces to address the high costs of employee health care has stirred the health policy pot. It immediately sent shock waves through the health sector of the stock market and reinvigorated talk about health care technology, value and quality. Though details regarding the undertaking are thin, the companies said in a release that their partnership’s intent is to improve employee satisfaction and hold down costs by bringing “their scale and complementary expertise to this long-term effort.” They plan to create an independent company, “free from profit-making incentives and constraints,” to focus on “technology solutions.”

Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett described health care costs as “a hungry tapeworm on the American economy,” and Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos said the partnership was “open-eyed about the degree of difficulty” ahead. Jamie Dimon, chairman and CEO of JPMorgan, said the results could benefit the employees of these companies and possibly all Americans. But what does all of this mean and how can it be successful when so many other initiatives have fallen short? KHN asked a variety of health policy experts their thoughts on this venture, and what advice they would offer these CEOs as they go forward. Some of the advice has been edited for clarity and length. Tom Miller, resident fellow, American Enterprise Institute: “It’s great that someone theoretically with resources would try to build a better

mousetrap. But it’s been difficult to do, and part of it is regulatory and competitive barriers are well-constructed in the health care sphere, which tend to make it less receptive or subject to competitive pressures. “I welcome any new capital trying to disrupt health care. … The incumbents are comfortable and could use disruption. If Amazon has an idea, and is willing to put some money behind it, that’s wonderful. What they are willing to do other than fly low-cost providers for home visits in drones — I don’t know. They’d probably have to miniaturize them, wouldn’t they?”...Read More

Save Medicare & Medicaid National Call In Days

National Call-In Days House National Call-In Days Monday-Friday, February 5th-9th Call the House of Representatives (866) 828-4162 Senate National Call-In Day Monday-Friday, February 12th-16th Call the Senate Tell your Member of Congress and Senator to Oppose cuts to Medicare, Medicaid or government assistance for low-income seniors to pay for the next tax law. For more information, visit Rhode Island Alliance for Retired Americans, Inc. • 94 Cleveland Street • North Providence, RI • 02904-3525 • 401-480-8381 •

RI ARA HealthLink Wellness News


This diet may slow cognitive decline after stroke After showing that the "MIND" diet can reduce the risk of developingAlzheimer's, researchers are now tackling stroke. The MIND (Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay) diet was developed by Martha Clare Morris , a professor of epidemiology and director of the Section of Nutrition and Nutritional Epidemiology at Rush University Medical

Center in Chicago, IL. It uses elements of both the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) and the Mediterranean diets. Aimed at promoting brain health, the MIND diet focuses heavily on consumption of vegetables, nuts, beans, fish, poultry, whole grains, olive oil, and a moderate consumption of wine. Foods to be avoided include red meats, butter and margarines, cheese, pastries, sweets, and

fried or fast foods. A research team from Rush, including senior study author Prof. Morris, have found a link between adherence to the MIND diet and a slower rate of cognitive decline in individuals who previously had a stroke. The findings were presented at the American Stroke Association International Stroke Conference 2018 in Los Angeles, CA, on Thursday. ...Read More

What are the best foods to fight aging? Eat well for a long and healthy life – that's a mantra that we're all familiar with, but what are the best foods to help us achieve that goal? In this article, we give you an overview of some of the most healthful and nutritious foods. We investigate. Official figures indicate that, currently, the top three countries in the world with the highest life expectancy are the Principality of Monaco, Japan, and Singapore. These are places where the inhabitants experience a high quality of life, and an important element of that is eating healthful meals.

Often, we find praise for "superfoods" in the media – foods so high in nutritional value that they are seen as dietary superheroes. Nutritionists reject the term "superfoods" as a buzzword that can influence people to place too high an expectation on a limited range of foods when, in reality, a balanced diet and healthful lifestyle require more effort than eating your five-a-day. Still, there are certain foods that are more nutritious than others, and many that, as research has shown, have a protective effect against a range of diseases. Here, we give

you an overview of some of the best foods that you may want to consider including in your diet in your quest for a happy, healthy life.  Edamame (soybeans)  Tofu (soybean curd)  Carrots  Cruciferous vegetables  Salmon  Citrus fruits …...Read More

Body clock disruptions may be an early sign of Alzheimer's New research published in JAMA Neurology suggests that those people whose memory is intact and who do not show any signs of Alzheimer's can have disrupted circadian rhythms — which may be a very early sign of

Alzheimer's disease, and although the study was observational, it found biological markers of the disease in the brains of people who reported insomnia or disrupted sleep. Now, new research deepens our Napping during the day understanding of this complex relationship, may disrupt the sleep/ as scientists find that disruptions in the wake cycle in seniors. This may be a very early sleep/wake cycle in completely sign of Alzheimer's asymptomatic people might signal the disease. presence of preclinical evidence of Alzheimer's. Alzheimer's disease. The link between sleep and Alzheimer's Dr. Erik S. Musiek — an assistant diseaseis a complex one, and her e professor of neurology at the Washington at Medical News Today, we've been trying to University School of Medicine in St. Louis, illuminate it by reporting on the latest MO — is the first author of the study. studies in the field. The scientists were prompted in their new One such study suggested that poor study by previous animal and human studies sleep may lead to brain proteins such as that were conducted at Washington amyloid beta and tau becoming tangled, a University, which revealed that levels of the known hallmark of the neurological Alzheimer's-related brain protein amyloid condition. beta go up and down at different times Another study suggested that sleep through the circadian rhythm. They also disorders may be an early sign of found that less sleep may lead to more

amyloid beta in the brain. They therefore set out to investigate circadian rhythms in seniors and checked their results by also carrying out a second study in mice. The findings are particularly significant given that Alzheimer's-related brain damage can occur up to 20 years before any symptoms start to show, so early detection is crucial. Disrupted body clock linked with Alzheimer's Dr. Musiek and colleagues used tracking devices and sleep diaries to track the sleep and circadian patterns of 189 participants who were aged 66, on average. They underwent positron emission tomography scans, cerebral spinal fluid tests, or both to check for the presence of Alzheimer's-related brain proteins. Of these people, 139 had no signs of Alzheimer's, and the majority of them had relatively normal circadian rhythms….Read More

Rhode Island Alliance for Retired Americans, Inc. • 94 Cleveland Street • North Providence, RI • 02904-3525 • 401-480-8381 •

Aerobic exercise may be key for Alzheimer's prevention New research recently published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society explores the benefits of exercising for delaying Alzheimer's

In fact, it is so widely accepted that exercise is a good way to prevent dementia that the World Health Organization (WHO) recommend that individuals aged 65 and above engage in 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise every week, or 75 weekly minutes disease. of vigorous-intensity aerobic exercise, to Last year, a review by scientists at the keep this form of dementia at bay. University of Southern California in Los Finally, a third option recommended by Angeles found that as many as 1 in 3 cases the WHO involves both moderate- and of Alzheimer's diseasewer e pr eventable vigorous-intensity activity, complemented through lifestyle changes. with muscle-strengthening activities. The same report also highlighted nine But as the authors of the new study point steps that anyone could take to significantly out, the WHO base their recommendations reduce their risk. One such step was on a few meta-analyses that have yielded increasing physical activity.

conflicting results on the benefits of exercise for dementia. One of the reasons for these conflicting results could be that the previous research used dated statistical tools, suggest the study authors. So, Gregory Panza — an exercise physiologist in the Department of Cardiology at Hartford Hospital in Hartford, CT — and his team set out to examine the cognitive benefits of exercise in more depth and using newer tools. They carried out a review of existing literature, which included a total of 19 studies examining the effects of exercise in at-risk seniors. ...Read More

Alzheimer's: Brain implant could improve cognitive function By Maria Cohut Fact checked by Jasmin Collier Researchers report the success of a clinical trial that tested the effectiveness of deep brain stimulation for slowing functionrelated cognitive decline. This enables people affected by Alzheimer's to keep living independently for longer. The success of a recent phase I clinical trial seems to indicate that a brain implant could slow down cognitive decline in Alzheimer's. According to a 2016 study that was published in Alzheimer's and Dementia, in the United States, someone develops Alzheimer's disease every 66 seconds. In total, the study authors note, about 5.4

million adults live with this condition. It is characterizedby pr ogressive memor y loss and the impairment of other cognitive functions tied to conducting daily activities. There is currently no cure for Alzheimer's disease, so treatments focus on managing its symptoms. It is particularly important for people living with this condition to be able to carry out their day-to-day activities for as long as possible, in order to maintain a good quality of life. A recent clinical trial conducted by specialists at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center in Columbus tested the efficiency of implants for deep brain stimulation in helping people with Alzheimer's to keep living independently for longer.

Dr. Douglas Scharre and colleagues' method requires implanting very thin electrical wires into the brain's frontal lobes, which are associated with working memory and executive functioning, which makes that area of the brain crucial in decision-making. "By stimulating this region of the brain, the Alzheimer's subjects' cognitive and daily functional abilities as a whole declined more slowly than Alzheimer's patients' in a matched comparison group not being treated with [deep brain stimulation]." —-Dr. Douglas Scharre …...Read More

Winter Safety for Seniors For people who experience four seasons, winter can be a great time for sledding, skiing and tobogganing. But despite the outdoor pleasures related to this time of year, there are daily practical hazards associated with ice and snow. Shoveling snow and clearing walkways and driveways are a routine part of the winter experience. Preparing to tackle these chores is important, particularly for many older persons who live alone. When you're going to step outside into the cold, make sure you're covered well enough to keep warm. Older persons often have a lower core body temperature, have

less muscle to generate the heat needed to raise their body temperature and will have problems maintaining this temperature due to medical problems and medication effects. It's not unusual even in warmer months for older persons to complain that they feel cold, even when the thermostat is raised to a higher temperature than younger adults are used to. The best solution – and most practical – is to make sure you wear clothes that provide appropriate insulation to protect you from the cold weather and to help keep heat closer to your body. For older persons considering tackling the driveway snow, it's worthwhile to use your judgment to determine if it's a good idea. If you've had a prior fall, have ever broken a

bone (or are at a higher risk for breaking your hip as a result of osteoporosis) or have medical conditions that would limit your ability to engage in high intensity exercise (shoveling the snow has the same effort as walking 4 to 5 mph or playing singles tennis), it may be sensible to ask someone else to do the work for you. This is particularly relevant to individuals who have a history of heart disease, have their mobility restricted because of pain or a neurological condition, like Parkinson's disease, or have a lung disease that restricts their mobility, such as emphysema….Read More

Rhode Island Alliance for Retired Americans, Inc. • 94 Cleveland Street • North Providence, RI • 02904-3525 • 401-480-8381 •


RI ARA February 4, 2018 E-Newsletter


RI ARA February 4, 2018 E-Newsletter