President Obama’s health care law is putting new strains on some of the nation’s most hard-pressed hospitals, by cutting aid they use to pay for emergency care for illegal immigrants, which they have long been required to provide.
Once viewed as the most fiscally stable age group, older people are flailing. On Wednesday, AARP released what it described as the most comprehensive analysis yet of why the foreclosure crisis struck so many Americans in their retirement years. The report found that while people under 50 are the group most likely to face foreclosure, the risk of “serious delinquency” on mortgages has grown fastest for people over 50.
While the study classified even baby boomers as “older Americans,” its most dire findings were for the oldest group. Among people over 75, the foreclosure rate grew more than eightfold from 2007 to 2011, to 3 percent of that group of homeowners, the report found.
“Despite the perception that older Americans are more housing secure than younger people, millions of older Americans are carrying more mortgage debt than ever before, and more than three million are at risk of losing their homes,” the report found. “As the mortgage crisis continues, millions of older Americans are struggling to maintain their financial security.”
Five studies presented at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference in Vancouver this month provide striking evidence that when a person’s walk gets slower or becomes more variable or less controlled, his cognitive function is also suffering.
Thinking skills like memory, planning activities or processing information decline almost in parallel with the ability to walk fluidly, these studies show.
In other words, the more trouble people have walking, the more trouble they have thinking.
Arthritis is the leading cause of disability in the United States. But with a few simple adjustments, life can be easier and less painful for the millions of people who now permit this common condition to limit what they are able to do and enjoy.
One of the health care act’s pillars is to forbid the exclusion of people with pre-existing illness from medical coverage. By definition, a vast majority of adult Americans with a mental illness have a pre-existing disorder. Half of all serious psychiatric illnesses — including major depression, anxiety disorders and substance abuse — start by 14 years of age, and three-fourths are present by 25, according to the National Comorbidity Survey. These people have specifically been denied medical coverage by most commercial insurance companies — until now.
From an epidemiologic and public health perspective, the provision that young people can remain on their parents’ insurance until they turn 26 is a no-brainer: By this age, the bulk of psychiatric illness has already developed, and there is solid evidence that we can positively change the course of psychiatric illness by early treatment.
Mental disorders are chronic lifelong diseases, characterized by remission and relapse for those who respond to treatment, or persistent symptoms for those who do not. In schizophrenia, for example, relapse is common, even with the best treatment. It makes no sense to tell someone with this condition that his lifetime mental health benefit is just 60 days of inpatient hospitalization.
Psychiatric illness is treatable, but it is rarely curable; it may remit for a while, but it doesn’t go away. That is why the current limits on treatment are as irrational as they are cruel — the discriminatory hallmark of commercial medical insurance.
No more. The Affordable Care Act treats psychiatric illness like any other and removes obstacles to fair and rational treatment.
Older people with mental illness will also benefit, because the law will eventually fill in the notorious gap in Medicare drug coverage known as the “doughnut hole.” The law will immediately require drug companies to give a 50 percent discount on brand-name drugs and then gradually provide subsidies until the gap closes in 2020.
KHN's Mary Agnes Carey moderates a panel discussion with KHN's Marilyn Werber Serafini, Politico's Jennifer Haberkorn and the L.A. Times' Noam N. Levey. The reporters field your questions and break down Thursday's landmark Supreme Court decision on the constitutionality of the health law. A transcript follows.
Medicare Rights Center-Medicare Interactive Counselor Now consumers, caregivers and health care professionals can access the timeliest Medicare information and resources, including state-specific information on Medicare-covered services, coordination of benefits, and what to do in the prescription drug coverage gap. Medicare Interactive, the Medicare Rights Center’s unique online tool, lets you search within broad topics, look up basic information, or seek out specific terms.
Atlas of the Human Body Provided by the American Medical Association this is a graphic representation of the human body and its structures.