Aging Well in the Gorge February 7th 2017

There has been plenty of news in the last several weeks about repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act or Obamacare. When the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was passed, most of the discussion focused on how it would insure millions of citizens who did not have health insurance. What was seldom mentioned in all the noise were the benefits ACA provided for older adults.
More than a decade ago, knowing the hardship older adults faced paying for prescription drugs, Congress, with a strong push from the George W. Bush administration, passed the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act of 2003, which created Medicare Part D.
Medicare Part D covered for the first time a portion of the cost of most outpatient prescription drugs which older adults often could not afford. But there was a catch: a temporary gap in coverage described as the Donut Hole. In this donut hole, the cost of prescription drugs between what the Part D prescription plan would cover (up to $3700 in 2017), and when the out of pocket expenses reached an amount considered catastrophic (which in 2017 is $4950), the Part D enrollees were responsible for the total costs of their medications.
The ACA, signed by President Obama in 2010, made prescription drugs more affordable for many older adults by closing the donut hole in stages, eliminating it by 2020. Since the ACA was passed in 2010, more than 11 million people have saved an average of more than $2,100 per person on prescription drugs.
Even though the Republicans have been promising to repeal and replace the ACA, they have not yet come to a consensus of how to do it. There have been several proposals to replace the ACA and many including Rep. Tom Price’s (who is President Trump’s Health and Human Services Secretary nominee) Empowering Patients First Act, does not include the gradual elimination of the donut hole in Medicare Part B as well as other benefits for Medicare recipients such as screenings for breast and colorectal cancer, heart disease and diabetes.
It is important that older adults of both political parties advocate to include the provisions of the ACA that improve the health of older adults in any new legislation, particularly the gradual elimination of the Donut Hole, so no older adult must choose between their critical prescriptions and their basic necessities.
Continuing the countdown of “40 Great Things about Growing Older”. #16 – Looking Great at any age. Maybe I am a little biased but looking back at my high school yearbook, with the bouffant hairdos and the flattop haircuts, I think we look much better now: wiser, more mature – with a few wrinkles to show we know what we are talking about. 
Tuesday night music at the Center on February 14th will feature Martin and Friends performing for your dancing and listening pleasure. Doors open at 6:00, music starts at 6:30 and donations are appreciated.
“I just want to say one word to you – just one word…. ‘Plastics.’” was the career advice told to Benjamin Braddock, played by Dustin Hoffman, in the 1967 movie The Graduate. (The winners of a quilt raffle ticket each are Betsy Ayres, Jerry Phillips, Sandy Haechrel, and Mary Davis.)
This month I’m going to see if you remember the song lyrics from the 1950’s and the 1960’s – back in the day when you could understand the lyrics even with the scratched records and simple transistor radios.
This song is from the 1950’s and has an Oregon connection since the singer spent part of his childhood on a farm in Dallas, Oregon before moving to Portland, Oregon, where he attended high school.
For this week’s “Remember When” question, what was the name of the song that included the lyrics, “If your heartaches seem to hang around too long/ And your blues keep getting bluer with each song/ Well now, remember sunshine can be found
Behind a cloudy sky/ So let your hair down and go right on and …”. Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or mail it in on the back of a postcard from Hopewell, Oregon.
Well, it’s been another week, trying to remember to pick my feet up so I don’t trip and fall head first into a snow bank. Until we meet again, remember everyone has a piece of the truth.

“Always laugh when you can. It is cheap medicine.” — Lord Byron

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