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Affiliated with the Rhode Island AFL-CIO “Fighting for the future of our members.” “NOW, more than ever!!!” Publication 2018 Issue 36 Published in house by the RI ARA

September 9, 2018 E-Newsletter

All Rights Reserved RI ARA 2018©

Woodward book puts White House back in damage-control mode An incendiary tell-all book by a reporter who helped bring down President Richard Nixon set off a firestorm in the White House on Tuesday, with its descriptions of current and former aides calling President Donald Trump an "idiot" and a "liar," disparaging his judgment and claiming they plucked papers off his desk to prevent him from withdrawing from a pair of trade agreements. The book by Washington Post journalist Bob Woodward is the latest to throw the Trump administration into damagecontrol mode with explosive anecdotes and concerns about the commander in chief. The Associated Press obtained a copy of "Fear: Trump in the White House" on Tuesday, a week before its official release.

Trump decried the quotes and stories in the book on Twitter as "frauds, a con on the public," adding that Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and chief of staff John Kelly had denied uttering quoted criticisms of the president in the book. And he denied accounts in the book that senior aides snatched sensitive documents off his desk to keep him from making impulsive decisions. He said in an interview with The Daily Caller, "There was nobody taking anything from me." Later Tuesday, Trump was back on Twitter denying the book's claim that he had called Attorney General Jeff Sessions "mentally retarded" and "a dumb southerner." Trump insisted he "never used those terms on anyone,

including Jeff," adding that "being a southerner is a GREAT thing." Sessions has been a target of the president's wrath since recusing himself from the Russia investigation. The publication of Woodward's book has been anticipated for weeks, and current and former White House officials estimate that nearly all their colleagues cooperated with the famed Watergate journalist. The White House, in a statement from press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, dismissed the book as "nothing more than fabricated stories, many by former disgruntled employees, told to make the President look bad." Woodward did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The book quotes Kelly as having doubts about Trump's mental faculties, declaring during one meeting, "We're in Crazytown." It also says he called Trump an "idiot," an account Kelly denied Tuesday. The book says Trump's former lawyer in the Russia probe, John Dowd, doubted the president's ability to avoid perjuring himself should he be interviewed in special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian election interference and potential coordination with Trump's campaign. Dowd, who stepped down in January, resigned after the mock interview, the book says. "Don't testify. It's either that or an orange jumpsuit," Dowd is quoted telling the president. ....Read More

Spotlight on Families Left Behind by the GOP Tax Scam as Labor Day Weekend Begins Ahead of this weekend’s Labor Day celebrations, the Alliance joined advocates for retirees and working families in highlighting the ways in which last year’s tax cuts have weakened most families bottom line and economic security. Supporters of the tax cuts claimed that workers would see a $4,000 wage hike if the bill was passed, but the opposite has been true. Corporate profits have jumped 8.2 percent, while tax revenue from those same companies have plummeted 44 percent and workers’ wages have remained stagnant. In fact, only 4 percent of workers have received a bonus or a wage increase since the tax scam was passed, and most were not even close to the $4,000 promised. Instead, companies have invested over one hundred times more in stock buybacks than they have in wage growth, and CEOs have enjoyed salaries over 312 times the average worker’s pay. “Big corporations and wealthy CEOs are investing these tax cuts into their bottom line as many American workers struggle to get by,” said Richard Fiesta, Executive Dir ector of the Alliance. “We must stand in solidar ity to fight for better wages and a secure retirement.” Rhode Island Alliance for Retired Americans, Inc. • 94 Cleveland Street • North Providence, RI • 02904-3525 • 401-480-8381 •

Immigration proposals could cost Social Security trillions Though it may not be what you want to hear, it's the truth: Social Security is in trouble. Despite the fact that Social Security currently provides a monthly benefit check to more than 62 million people and that 62% of aged beneficiaries lean on their payout to account for at least half of their monthly income, America's most important social program is less than two decades away from a major -- and potentially unpleasant -- change. Social Security is 16 years from a major shift According to the most recent annual report from the Social Security Board of Trustees, the program is set to undergo a significant shift in 2018. Beginning this year and continuing with each subsequent year, program expenditures are expected to outpace revenue collected. Though we're only talking about a $1.7 billion net cash outflow in 2018 and $0.2 billion in 2019, these outflows are projected to really accelerate in 2020 and beyond. By the year 2034, Social Security's $2.9 trillion in asset reserves is expected to be completely depleted. The good news is that Social Security doesn't need any excess cash in its coffers to continue making payments to eligible beneficiaries. Its 12.4% payroll tax on earned income, along with the highly unpopular taxation of Social Security benefits on select recipients,

ensures that money will keep flowing in for disbursement. The bad news is that this net cash outflow and projected depletion of the program's asset reserves shows the unsustainability of the current payout schedule. If Congress fails to deliver a solution to the estimated $13.2 trillion cash shortfall between 2034 and 2092, current and future beneficiaries could see their Social Security checks cut by 21%. That's terrifying news given the reliance of aged beneficiaries on the program. But what you may not realize is that a handful of proposals from Donald Trump may actually be costing the program quite a bit of money over the long term (defined as the next 75 years by the Trustees report). Stance on immigration could be hurting Social Security In September 2017, the Trump administration announced its intention to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which is more commonly known as DACA. This program protects in the neighborhood of 800,000 people known as "Dreamers" who'd entered the country illegally as children. For what it's worth, while a U.S. federal judge ruled in early August 2018 that the Trump administration must fully reinstate the DACA program,

the legal battle over DACA rages on. Just a month prior to announcing his intent to end DACA, Trump announced his support for a proposal to cut immigration into the U.S. in half over the coming decade. Trump's tougher stance on immigration shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone, as it was a cornerstone of his presidential campaign in 2016. But what you might not know is that a tougher stance on immigration could adversely impact Social Security. According to a September 2017 analysis fr om, Trump's anti-immigration policies could cost the program up to $2.4 trillion over the next 75 years. This assumes a halving in immigration over the long term, as well as the ending of DACA, which would reduce Social Security contributions by an estimated $33.1 billion over the next decade. The reason we'd see such big dollar figures lost from Social Security is because immigrants contribute a lot to the program. For instance, the roughly 800,000 people protected by DACA are younger workers who'll be able to contribute to the program via the payroll tax for decades to come. Immigrants to this country, in general, tend to be younger, which means there's a long

period of time with which to collect payroll tax from these folks before they'd even have an opportunity to collect a Social Security benefit. Also, understand that in order to collect a Social Security retired worker benefit, immigrants would have to become legal citizens and earn the prerequisite 40 lifetime work credits needed to receive a monthly payout during retirement. Should these folks not follow a path to legal citizenship, they wouldn't be entitled to a retired worker benefit. According to AARP, around $12 billion was collected in payroll tax in 2010 from undocumented workers who (barring a path to legal citizenship) have no chance of ever collecting a benefit. Conversely, the report notes that if immigration into the U.S. were doubled, Social Security would reap the rewards of an estimated $5 trillion in added income over the next 75 years. Clearly, Social Security has a lot of issues to work through, and there are no guarantees that what Trump has proposed from an immigration standpoint would become the long-term policy of the United States. But the data would appear to suggest that immigrants have played and will continue to play an important role in the long-term health of the Social Security program.

Bed sores, neglect, alleged abuse: Inside low-rated VA nursing homes The nurse’s aide was busy getting a patient ready for bed when she noticed a commotion behind a privacy curtain on the other side of the room. She heard Russ Bonanno, a 94-yearold veteran, shout “ow, ow, ow.” “It sounded like fighting,” said Julee, who asked that her last name not be used out of fear

of retaliation. When she went to check what was happening, she saw another aide trying to hoist Bonanno from his wheelchair to his bed, normally a two-person job. Then, as Julee watched, she said the other aide simply tossed

the elderly dementia patient onto the bed. “Let me tell you how brutal that guy was with the veteran,” Julee wrote to her supervisor two days after the May 18 incident. “After he was done, (we) went and checked Mr. Bonanno. The guy was wet.

Everything needed to be changed.” The aide accused of roughly handling Bonanno quietly resigned, but Julee, the aide who blew the whistle, was fired two weeks later. She said her supervisor told her she had attendance problems….Read More

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

New “Pre-Existing Conditions” Bill Offers Little Protection Last Friday, several Senate Republicans introduced legislation that would prohibit insurers from denying coverage to patients with pre-existing conditions but with a catch. Sponsors say the bill will act as an antidote in the event that protections now provided through the Affordable Care Act are struck down in an upcoming lawsuit led by numer ous Republican states. However this bill provides little protection for

policyholders: while insurance companies could not refuse to sell a policy to a person with a pre-existing condition, they can decline to cover any future care related to a patient’s condition. As an example, insurers couldn’t refuse to sell a policy to customer with a history of cancer, but they could exclude any coverage for related future care such as cancer screenings and treatment. Insurers could also charge higher premiums based on age, gender, or

occupation, essentially rendering the pre-existing condition protections useless. An analysis done by the Kaiser Family Foundation shows that pre-existing conditions are prevalent in many parts of the country, afflicting more than 40% of adults in some areas, and that 47% of adults aged 60 to 64 would be denied coverage due to a preexisting condition without protections from the Affordable Care Act.

“This legislation is the latest in a series of gimmicks meant to distract Americans from Robert constant Roach, Jr Republican moves to take health care away from millions,” said Alliance President Robert Roach, Jr., President of the Alliance. “We must instead work to strengthen and defend the protections already afforded to us by the Affordable Care Act.”

Republicans Continue to Use Dangerous “Entitlement” Cuts As a Talking Point For How to Control Deficit GOP lawmakers and pundits have renewed their push to cut Social Security and Medicare benefits in order to cut federal spending. The national deficit is poised to surpass $1 trillion by 2020 as a result of last year’s tax bill. Kevin Hassett, chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, specifically mentioned cutting earned benefits as a way to reduce spending in a recent interview.

The interview highlighted the president’s already broken promises to never cut Social Security and Medicare, but Hassett stated that earned benefit programs will have to be cut eventually to keep the deficit in check: “The question is at what point do you do entitlements, and over a 20- or 30- year horizon you have to do it, and so my guess is the conversation picks up.”

Hassett made these remarks on the same day that Republican Rep. Steve Stivers (OH) stated that Social Security and Medicare represent “the biggest spending issues.” Stivers refused to rule out raising the retirement age as a solution, and promoted minimal-coverage Medicare vouchers as a way to reduce expenditures. “The tax scam made the national deficit swell

tremendously, but going after our hard earned benefits won’t fix that,” said Alliance SecretaryJoseph Peters, Jr. Treasurer Joseph Peters Jr. “It is clear that Republicans will continue to attack the things that older Americans rely on, and we must elect candidates who will protect rather than slash these benefits in November.”

Parkland victim's father and Kavanaugh: The handshake that wasn't The father of a student killed in the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting earlier this year attempted to shake the hand of Brett Kavanaugh during the judge's first day of Senate confirmation hearings to the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday. "Just walked up to Judge Kavanaugh as morning session ended. Put out my hand to introduce myself as Jaime Guttenberg's dad. He pulled his hand back, turned his back to me and walked away," Fred Guttenberg tweeted. " I guess he did not want to deal with the reality of gun violence." Guttenberg's daughter Jaime, 14, was killed during the Valentine's Day shooting in

Parkland, Flor ida, that left another 16 dead and injured 17 more. White House Deputy Press Secretary Raj Shah responded to Guttenberg's tweet, writing, "As Judge Kavanaugh left for his lunch break, an unidentified individual approached him. Before the Judge was able to shake his hand, security had intervened." Guttenberg wasn't satisfied with that response. "Incorrect. I was here all day and introduced by Senator Feinstein. No security involved. He turned and walked away," Guttenberg tweeted. Guttenberg has previously stated that he opposed

confirmation of Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court due to the National Rifle Association's support for the judge. In a tweet in July, Guttenberg wrote that "Kavanaugh must not become a Supreme Court Justice," calling him a "risk to public safety." A video of the moment shows Guttenberg approach Kavanaugh, and the father appears to speak to the judge. However, it is unclear what Guttenberg is saying. Kavanaugh then turns and walks away, flanked by a security team. Still images of the moment show Guttenberg with his hand extended as he and Kavanaugh

appear to lock eyes. Guttenberg, who has become a fervent gun reform advocate since his daughter's death, did not immediately respond to a request for comment made by NBC News. A Supreme scrum: It’s slam-bam in first round of Kavanaugh hearings Tuesday’s opening session of the Senate Judiciary Committee’s hearing on President Trump’s nomination of U.S. Appeals Court Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court featured namecalling. Shouts from the peanut gallery. People — almost all of them women — firmly escorted from the premises by the Capitol Police. ..Read More

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

Dangers of Surprise Medical Bills Underscore Importance of Medicare’s Beneficiary Protections This week, Kaiser Health News (KHN) and National Public Radio (NPR) published and broadcast the story of 44 year-old Drew Calver, a high school teacher in Austin, Texas who faced an outrageous hospital bill. In the wake of a lifethreatening heart attack, Mr. Calver was rushed to a nearby emergency room, where he was admitted to the hospital and underwent surgery. The heart attack was a shock for Calver, an avid swimmer and triathlete. Adding to his surprise was the bill he faced afterwards: the hospital charged $164,941 for the surgery and four days in the hospital. His insurer paid the hospital $55,840. The hospital then billed Mr. Calver for the unpaid balance of $108,951.31. This practice, known as “balance billing,” allows providers to bill patients for the outstanding balance after the

insurance company submits its portion of the bill. Out-ofnetwork providers— as was the hospital in this case—are not bound by contractual in-network rate agreements and therefore have the ability to bill patients for the entire remaining balance. Balance billing may occur when a patient receives a bill for an episode of care previously believed to be in-network and therefore covered by the insurance company, or when an insurance company contributes less money for a medical service than a patient expected. While people who have private health insurance, such as employer-based coverage, may be vulnerable to these and other types of surprise medical bills, Medicare has financial protections in place to safeguard beneficiaries from unexpected and confusing charges.

These protections— which include the participating provider program, limitations on balance billing, and conditions on private contracting—have been effective in limiting beneficiaries’ out-of-pocket liability for physician services. Today, for example, a small share of Medicare beneficiaries experience balance billing, which is ver y different from the years before balance billing limits were instituted. After Mr. Calver’s story was made public, the hospital offered to accept $782.29 to resolve the outstanding balance. Mr. Calver disputed that he owes any additional money. While in this instance the billing situation may be resolvable, others facing such financially crippling costs may not have similar outcomes. State

and federal laws must be changed to prevent such billing practices from impacting those who are privately insured, and Medicare’s existing financial protections must be maintained and strengthened. Medicare Rights will continue to urge policymakers to prioritize these important safeguards. Relaxing these rules, as some policymakers have proposed, would jeopardize recent gains and put people with Medicare at risk of higher costs and reduced access to care. Our latest fact sheet, Paying More for Less: Private Contracting explains how some of Medicare’s beneficiary protections work, and why they are critical to providers, the program, and people with Medicare. Read the Medicare Rights Center’s fact sheet, Paying More for Less: Private Contracting

CMS Announces New Rules That Could Make Part D Drug Formularies Much More Complicated

This week, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced that, starting in 2020, Part D Plans and Medicare Advantage Plans with Part D will be able to include medications on their formulary for some FDA-approved uses, but not others. Currently, a plan can favor one drug over another by including a medication on its formulary or not; placing it on a lower cost sharing tier; or putting coverage restrictions, like prior authorization, quantity limits, or step therapy on the less preferred medication. These rules apply uniformly to each drug, for all FDA- and compendia-approved purposes—the new rules do not.

For example if drug A is FDA approved for two uses— one to treat condition X and one to treat condition Y—plans must include drug A on the formulary for X and Y or exclude it for both X and Y. Under the new rules, however, plans will be able to treat a prescription for a drug to treat X differently from the same prescription to treat Y. CMS indicates that their intent is to increase a plan’s ability to negotiate indication-specific drug prices, but there are few details about how these differences will be

communicated to beneficiaries. The memo from CMS states that if plans wish to use this type of formulary design they must “disclose that some drugs may be subject to those requirements in the plan’s Annual Notice of Change (ANOC) and Evidence of Coverage (EOC) documents.” We believe this is inadequate – CMS should require integration of this information, including asking about the conditions for which drugs are prescribed, in the Medicare Plan Finder tool. Plans should also be required to designate any drugs

that have indicationbased restrictions in their online and print formularies. Medicare Rights is concerned that people with Medicare will face ever-growing difficulties in choosing what coverage is right for them. Already, many people struggle with their coverage decisions, and new complex plan offerings are likely to increase these problems. Read the CMS announcement.

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

Trump attacks union leader on Labor Day President Donald Trump started his Labor Day with an attack on a top union leader, lashing out after criticism from AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka. Trump tweeted Monday that Trumka "represented his union poorly on television this weekend." He added: "it is easy to see why unions are doing so poorly. A Dem!" The president's attack came after Trumka appeared on "Fox News Sunday" over the weekend where he said efforts to overhaul the North American Free Trade Agreement should include Canada. Trumka, whose

organization is an umbrella group for most unions, said the economies of the United States, Canada and Mexico are "integrated" and "it's pretty hard to see how that would work without having Canada in the deal." Trump said Saturday on Twitter that there was "no political necessity" to keep Canada in NAFTA. But it's questionable whether Trump can unilaterally exclude Canada from a deal to replace the threenation NAFTA agreement, without the approval of Congress. Any such move would likely face lengthy legal and congressional challenges.

Trump administration negotiations to keep Canada in the reimagined trade bloc are to resume this week as Washington and Ottawa try to break a deadlock over issues such as Canada's dairy market and U.S. efforts to shield drug companies from generic competition. Trump wants to get a trade deal finalized by Dec. 1. Trumka also said of Trump: "the things that he's done to hurt workers outpace what he's done to help workers," arguing that Trump has not come through with an infrastructure program and has overturned regulations that "will hurt us on the job."

Asked about the low unemployment rate and economic growth, Trumka said "those are good, but wages have been down since the first of the year. Gas prices have been up since the first of the year. So, overall, workers aren't doing as well." On Monday, Trump touted the economy, saying "Our country is doing better than ever before with unemployment setting record lows." He added, "The Worker in America is doing better than ever before. Celebrate Labor Day!" The unemployment rate of 3.9 percent is not at the best point ever — it is near the lowest in 18 years.

Trump cancels scheduled pay raises for most federal employees In a letter to House and Senate leaders, Trump claimed federal agency budgets cannot " sustain such increases." President Donald Trump announced Thursday that he was canceling pay raises for most federal employees that had been set to go into effect in January, citing government budget concerns. In a letter to House and Senate leaders, Trump wrote that he’d decided “across-the-board” pay raises as well as locality pay raises for civilian federal workers in 2019 would be frozen. “I have determined that for 2019, both across‑the‑board

pay increases and locality pay increases will be set at zero,” he wrote. “These alternative pay plan decisions will not materially affect our ability to attract and retain a well‑qualified Federal workforce,” Trump added. In the letter, Trump said a 25.7-percent pay raise for localities, as well as a 2.1percent pay increase for acrossthe-board pay, both scheduled for January 2019, would add billions to the federal deficit. Specifically, he pointed to the scheduled locality pay raise as costing $25 billion. “We must maintain efforts to

put our Nation on a fiscally sustainable course, and Federal agency budgets cannot sustain such increases,” Trump wrote in the letter. He cited Title 5 of the U.S. Code of Laws, as the basis for making the change, saying that the measure allows such decisions when a “national emergency or serious economic conditions” affect “the general welfare." The move comes just nine months after Trump signed his $1.5-trillion tax cut bill into law and five months after he signed a mammoth $1.3trillion spending bill.

Democrats and other critics of the tax cut bill attacked it as a gift to corporations and the wealthy, with little to help average Americans. The combined effect of both bills is expected to send the government's budget deficit toward the $1 trillion mark next year, according to an analysis by the Congressional Budget Office. Deficits would grow to $1.5 trillion by 2028, the report projected, and could exceed $2 trillion if the tax cuts are fully extended and if Washington doesn't cut spending.

GPO/WEP Information Read answers to the frequently asked GPO and WEP questions. Links to Other Information Centers  Social Security Online information on the WEP and the GPO (SSA)  The National Education Association on GPO and WEP (NEA)  California Retired Teachers Assn. on GPO and WEP (CalRTA)  The financial condition of Social Security (SSA)  Texas American Federation of Teachers (Texas AFT)

Social Security Fairness Repeal the Government Pension Offset and the Windfall Elimination Provision

Read these for detailed official information on the effects of the GPO (15 pages) and WEP (7 pages), their history and the arguments for and against. Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) • The Government Pension Offset (GPO) Rhode Island Alliance for Retired Americans, Inc. • 94 Cleveland Street • North Providence, RI • 02904-3525 • 401-480-8381 •

RI ARA HealthLink Wellness News


Aging Into a Better Life A Vermont elderly care initiative rooted in the home is being eyed as a model for SEVERAL YEARS AGO, Jeanne Daley was hit with three back-to-back challenges: Her husband died, she fell and fractured a knee and an elbow, and her son was transferred to Colorado for work, not long after she'd moved to Pennsylvania to live near him. "I was just about ready to give up on everything," she says. But then, another son in Vermont set her up in an income-restricted apartment complex designed for older adults in Burlington. "I came up to Vermont and thought maybe I'd last six months if I was lucky – and that was five years ago,"

Daley says. Daley's building isn't standard lowincome housing. It's part of the state's Support and Services at Home program, a housing-based initiative that addresses many health and social needs of lowincome seniors and some disabled adults in the settings where they spend the most time: their homes and their communities. One of roughly 5,000 SASH participants across Vermont, Daley participates in meditation and art classes offered through the program, and has her blood pressure checked weekly by a wellness nurse who works in the

apartment complex. "I'm really starting to feel younger – it's taken me back 10 years. I no longer feel my age since I've been up here," says Daley, who will turn 92 in October and has ditched her walking cane for dancing shoes since moving to the apartment. By integrating housing, health care and social services, SASH program coordinators seek to help older adults age healthily and independently, reducing their medical costs and delaying or preventing institutional care while in turn easing the burden on the nation's health care system.

Piloted in 2009 by the affordable housing nonprofit Cathedral Square, the SASH program has become a model for home-based health approaches as an aging America yields more complex and costly health conditions and payers and providers increasingly consider prevention as well as treatment to curb those costs. "This is a hard thing to do – I see this as changing the paradigm of how health care and supportive services are delivered," says SASH Director Molly Dugan. "We know things about them that their doctors don't know, that other community providers don't know, because we see them day in and day out."...Read More

Could Taking That Antibiotic Have Serious, Long-Term Consequences? Widely prescribed fluoroquinolones can cause rare but disabling side effects that may be permanent. In a suicide note Oliver Newell left on his computer, he apologized to family and friends for leaving them and described, in brief, some of the struggles he'd endured over the preceding months: "all systems affected (muscles, joints, skin, nerves, heart, intestinal, memory, hearing, etc....). And really no end in sight to the ongoing and continually emerging symptoms."

To the very end it seemed the 51-year-old software developer and member of the senior staff at MIT's Lincoln Laboratories, who lived in Billerica, Massachusetts, wanted to warn others about what had happened to him. He died by his own hand, but not in the stable state of mind that had characterized him for the 50 years prior, his siblings say. "He was a very resourceful

and smart scientifically oriented tough guy. He's not someone who would go off and cry wolf about things," says his brother Nick Newell, who lives in Reading, Massachusetts. Oliver hadn't suffered from mental health issues previously, Nick says, but everything changed after Oliver, who had been experiencing abdominal pain from what was suspected to be

a prostate or urinary tract infection, took an antibiotic in February 2012. After just three doses Oliver felt weakness in his legs and tingling in his hands and feet. Due to side effects, the medication was quickly stopped, and in total, he took just seven pills of ciprofloxacin (Cipro) – one of a class of powerful, widely prescribed antibiotics called fluoroquinolones – according to records Oliver and his siblings kept….Read More

According to Science, Self-Esteem Peaks at *This* Age

Raise your hand if you ever felt like an awkward tween/teen/adult. And you were afraid you’d feel that way forever. No? Just us? The good news is, you’re on the up and up—and science can prove it. According to a new report in the Psychological Bulletin, selfesteem doesn’t actually peak

until you’re about 60 years old. (60!) The report gathered data from more than 300 published studies on the topic, and a pattern held throughout. Per the paper, “self-esteem increases in early and middle childhood,

remains constant (but does not decline) in adolescence, increases strongly in young adulthood, continues to increase in middle adulthood, peaks between age 60 and 70 years, and then declines in old

age, with a sharper drop in very old age.” Read: Ages 60 through 70 are prime “I don't care” years. We never thought we’d say this but…getting older has its perks.

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

FDA: Do not use hundreds of drug products from King Bio Inc. Do not use water-based products made by King Bio Inc., the US Food and Drug Administration warned this week. "These products may pose a safety risk to people (especially infants, children, pregnant women and those with compromised immune systems), as well as pets due to high levels of microbial contamination identified at the manufacturing site," the agency said. The warning was issued as the company expanded a recall of

these products, which are labeled as Dr. King's. They include symptom relievers for ear infections, coughs, chicken pox, cold sores, warts, styes, swollen glands, snoring and tremors, appetite enhancers, attention and learning enhancers, and body detox. Also included are pet products for urinary incontinence, anxiety, allergies, muscle and joint arthritis, and digestion relief.

A list of the hundreds of products is posted onlinewith a message from company founder Franklin King. "While there have been no reports of illness or injury due to any of our products, we chose to issue the recall out of an abundance of caution," the message says. According to the FDA, King Bio said "several microbial contaminants were found in its

products, including Burkholderia Multivorans, which is a strain of bacteria called Burkholderia cepacia complex (BCC) that can cause illness in people with compromised immune systems. Additionally, evidence collected during the FDA's inspection indicates recurring microbial contamination associated with the water system used to manufacture drug products." ...Read More

A Simple Reason So Many Older Americans Are Overdosing on Opioids As the body ages, it often aches. In the U.S., 81 percent of adults over 65 endure multiple chronic conditions like arthritis, hypertension, heart disease, and diabetes. There also can be emotional pain from the loss of relatives and close friends and concerns about the continued ability to live independently. For those whose physical ailments prove almost paralyzing and chronic, health providers often prescribe opioid painkillers, such as hydrocodone and oxycodone. But that can lead to trouble. Last year, the Department of Health and Human Services declared the opioid crisis a public-health emergency. The department has

spent almost $900 million on treatment services and other initiatives, but still more and more Americans are dying of overdoses on opioids— in the forms of prescription pain pills, heroin, or synthetic drugs. While older adults are not the age group most affected by the crisis, the population of older adults who misuse opioids is projected to double from 2004 to 2020. A lot of factors contribute to this rise among the elderly. Many undergo several surgeries and are prescribed opioids that they use for a long time, which heightens their chances of

developing a disorder. Some take more than they need because the opioids they’ve been prescribed aren’t holding their pain at bay. Older adults of color, who face more barriers to getting the medications they need for pain, may get prescriptions from friends or family without proper instructions. But a recent poll highlights just how widespread another factor might be: doctors failing to warn their own patients about the risks that come with prescription pain relievers. Researchers involved with the University of Michigan’s

National Poll on Healthy Aging polled a nationally representative sample of 2,000 Americans, aged 50 to 80, about what their health-care providers talked about when prescribing opioid medication to them. In the past two years, 589 said they filled an opioid prescription. This group knew how often to take the medication, but the majority didn’t recall their doctors or pharmacists talking about the risk of addiction, the risk of overdose, or what to do with leftover pills. About 40 percent said their doctors didn’t talk to them about the side effects of opioid use or guide them on when to cut back on pain medications. ...Read More

Mediterranean diet shown to prolong seniors' lives A study of older adults by researchers in Italy suggests that the recipe for a longer life is to follow a Mediterranean diet. Many studies have already hailed the benefits to health and longevity of the Mediterranean diet, but few have focused on older people. The new research has come from the I.R.C.C.S. Neuromed Mediterranean Neurological Institute in Italy and comprises two parts. The first is a study that

followed 5,200 people aged 65 and older for approximately 8 years. The second is an analysis that added data from several other studies, bringing the total of older individuals evaluated to 12,000. In a paper on the findings that now features in the British Journal of Nutrition, the researchers describe how they found that the seniors whose

food intake most closely matched a Mediterranean diet lived the longest. First study author Marialaura Bonaccio, an epidemiologist at I.R.C.C.S. Neuromed, explains that while they knew "that the Mediterranean diet is able to reduce the risk of mortality in the general population," they did not know whether this might also be the case for older people

"specifically." She and her colleagues also observed that there was a "doseresponse" relationship between diet and survival in seniors: the closer the diet was to a Mediterranean one, the longer the survival. The findings support the idea that adopting or continuing with a Mediterranean diet could help older people "maximize their prospects for survival," they conclude….Read More

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

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RI ARA September 9, 2018 E-Newsletter  

RI ARA September 9, 2018 E-Newsletter  

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