The news of Li’l Rhody’s marriage equality victory ricochets from coast to coast.
I have a soft spot for adjuncts, because more than a few of my friends are in the awkward position of being rich intellectually but poor financially. What does it say about our priorities when we cannot pay our higher education professionals a living wage?
RI Seniors: Help! We’ve fallen into the Doughnut Hole and We Can’t Get Out! Please, Senator Whitehouse, come to our aid!
Senator Whitehouse responds below.
Over 13,000 Rhode Islanders Benefitted from Medicare “Doughnut Hole” Fix in 2012
New Interactive Map Highlights Savings for Each Zip Code in State
Cranston, RI – During a visit with Cranston seniors today to commemorate the three-year anniversary of the Affordable Care Act, U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse and Lieutenant Governor Elizabeth Roberts discussed how the health care law is saving money for Medicare recipients in Rhode Island. According to new data, 13,834 Rhode Island seniors saved over $8 million dollars through prescription drug discounts in 2012.
Prior to the passage of the Affordable Care Act, thousands of Rhode Island seniors fell into the so-called Medicare “doughnut hole” and were forced to pay the full cost of their prescription drugs. In 2010, Senator Whitehouse successfully fought to eliminate the doughnut hole as part of the Affordable Care Act.
“Over the years, I’ve heard from hundreds of Rhode Island seniors who were hurt by the doughnut hole,” said U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse. “Seniors should never have to choose between putting food on the table and paying for the medication they need to stay healthy. Fixing the doughnut hole was one of my top priorities when I was elected to the Senate, so I’m proud to see the Affordable Care Act saving Rhode Island seniors millions of dollars every year.”
“While much of the country is still trying to figure out the Affordable Care Act, here in Rhode Island we have been fully committed to ensuring that Rhode Island is a national leader in implementing health reform since the law’s passage in 2010,” said Lt. Governor Elizabeth H. Roberts, chair of the RI Healthcare Reform Commission. “And for Rhode Island seniors who are already benefiting from provisions in the law, such as closing the prescription coverage gap or ‘donut hole’, health reform has improved their lives.”
The doughnut hole exposes seniors to the full cost of prescription drugs after they and their plan spend a certain amount of money ($2,970) for covered drugs in a year, but before they hit catastrophic coverage ($4,750). The Affordable Care Act closes the doughnut hole in phases over a ten-year period.
Because of the Affordable Care Act, in 2011 and 2012 seniors in the doughnut hole received a 50% discount from the drug manufacturers on all brand name drugs. Starting this year, the federal government will subsidize an additional 2.5% of brand-name drug costs for seniors in the doughnut hole. These subsidies will increase each year until the coverage gap is closed in 2020.
In 2012, Rhode Island seniors in the doughnut hole saved $579 each on average.
Just what kind of fees are we paying in Rhode Island under the current treasurer’s “alternative” investments?
Out of curiosity, I went to Healthcare.gov to find out what my insurance options would be if I were a 44 year old healthy female looking for coverage. I was prompted to do so by an email from Lt. Governor Elizabeth Roberts, reminding me that we are in the countdown to 2014, where everyone will need to be enrolled for insurance.
The only options that came up for me were provided by Blue Cross Blue Shield and they gave me a range of plans with deductibles from $3,000 to $7,000 a year and premiums with a range of $275 to $400 a month. I had checked the box saying it would be difficult for me to afford care, but fat lot of good that did.
Forgive me, Dear Reader, but this does not sound like Affordable Health Care. This sounds like how to potentially lose a good chunk of my savings as well as pay a hefty monthly premium, all so I can’t have any really meaningful access to care such as mental health benefits and emergency room access without having to go broke. If this is really all the Affordable Health Care Act is doing, I’m not sure it will be an improvement over what we have and may just lead to more medical bankruptcies for the middle class and the poor.
I am withholding judgement for now, as I assume that more options will be listed soon in the directory, such as some more affordable plans from United Health Care or Neighborhood Health Plan. That’s my hope at least. If you want to check it out for yourself, give the Healthcare.gov Finder a try.
From Steve Stycos:
Saturday, the Pawtuxet Village Farmers Market’s will feature the annual Pumpkin and Paw Paw Festival. Paw paws, a tropical tasting fruit native to the Mid-West will be available for sale from Rhode Island’s exclusive paw paw grower, Warwick’s Rocky Point Blueberry Farm. The fruit is rarely available, so try one.
A bake sale to benefit the local Cub Scouts and hay rides through Pawtuxet Village sponsored by Friends of Pawtuxet Village will also happen during the festival. Tickets for the hay rides may be purchased at Twice Told Tales. Advance ticket purchase is recommended.
Saturday is also the Halloween costume swap at the market. Those who have already turned in costumes may select new items until 11 AM. The swap is open to everyone else after 11 AM.
Finally, Saturday is the last chance to buy chances on the market coupon book containing a five dollar coupon from each market vendor. Proceeds will provide an incentive for SNAP recipients to shop at the market.
October 20, the market will feature a composting demonstration, free electronics recycling and a plant pot collection. The plant pots will be reused by our farmers. If you missed last week’s pot collection, remember to bring them next week.
In an effort to combat global warming, Great Britain plans to phase out the use of peat, according to the New York Times. Use of peat in public parks will be banned in 2015, in backyard gardening in 2020 and in commercial operations in 2030. Supporters of the ban say that peat bogs store more carbon dioxide than rain forests. Although some tout peat as a renewable resource, it takes 100 years for a healthy bog to restore just one half inch of peat. Most peat in the UK comes from Ireland. American peat primarily comes from Canada.
And yes, someone told me Pamela Anderson starred on the TV show “Bay Watch,” not Christy Brinkley. Oh well,
See you at the market.
As a middle school teacher I often faced classrooms of thirty plus students with ability levels that spanned four to five different grades levels. There was so much variance in ability, skills and academic preparedness that I might as well have been teaching in an old-fashioned schoolhouse with a row for each grade level. I was always told that the answer was differentiated instruction.
I am not sure what is causing Channel 12 to keep Abel Collins out of their upcoming debate for the Congressional seat in District 2. One hopes it is not some unholy alliance between big media and big politicians in Rhode Island, but one can never be sure. With enough pressure, Channel 12 will likely cave (she said optimistically) so please sign the petition. This is not a democrat or republican, liberal or conservative issue — this is a fairness and accuracy in elections issue that everyone should be concerned about.
Another fascinating documentary, “Happy,” entered my consciousness yesterday. It talks about what makes for happiness. Some of you may be familiar with the concept of “flow” — if not, the movie is an excellent primer. But beyond flow, the film also provides research about how little social status and money (above a certain basic minimum for health and safety) really have to do with happiness. Parts that were particularly intriguing were the descriptions of Co-housing in Denmark, and how people there report record high levels of happiness and contentment. Co-housing exists in America, but not at all to the degree it does in Denmark. It might be an interesting model for Americans to allow into their field of vision, now that we have suffered a massive economic downturn and many people have lost their homes to foreclosure. Maybe we could even try a co-housing development with the bond money that will be on the Rhode Island ballot this November.
Thomas Lewis, a professor of Religious Studies at Brown, provides an excellent summary of the prayer banner controversy. He points out that Frank Lombardi, whose terrible judgement (IMHO) in the prayer banner controversy helped to fuel the fight with the ACLU, will be squaring off against Gene Dyszlewski, an ordained minister who defended Jessica Ahlquist, for the Rhode Island Senate District 26 seat. More on that to come.