News

Kim Keister leads the News & Politics team of AARP Media and is the editor / manager of the AARP Blog. He's been a journalist for decades, including eight years at AARP Bulletin and AARP.org. Follow him on Twitter @kimkeister

How to Talk About Death … and Life

Many Americans, it seems, have a hard time talking about death. Even doctors struggle to deal with the mortality of patients who they know aren’t going to make it. That’s the focus of Being Mortal: Conversations of Death and Dying, Atul Gawande’s adaptation of his bestselling book to a Frontline segment that begins airing Feb. 10 on PBS platforms. A surgeon and writer, Gawande chalks up doctors’ fears to their sense of professional competence. In gaining experience, “Among the most …

Supreme Court: Drugmakers’ Pay-for-Delay Deals Can Be Illegal

Deals between brand-name drugmakers and their generic drug competitors that keep cheaper products off the market might illegally prevent competition, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled June 17. In so-called pay-for-delay deals or reverse settlements, a patent holder pays a would-be competitor not to sell a generic version of a drug for a specified period of time. The brand-name manufacturer can continue to charge monopoly prices, and the generic company is compensated for inaction. In Federal Trade Commission v. Actavis, the …

Does a Top Drugmaker’s Playbook Stifle Competition?

If you owned the bestselling prescription drug of all time and its patent was about to expire, how would you prepare for competition from generic drugs? You might look at what Pfizer did when time was running out on its patent for the cholesterol-lowering drug Lipitor, which by 2011 had become the all-time bestselling prescription drug of any kind. And you could save yourself some time by reviewing a new AARP Public Policy Institute case study of Pfizer’s approach. The …

Will the Obamas All Get Tattoos?

On the April 24 “Today” show, President Obama laid out the strategy he and Michelle have devised to discourage their daughters from getting tattoos. “What we’ve said to the girls is, ‘If you guys ever decided you’re going to get a tattoo, then mommy and me will get the exact same tattoo in the same place. And we’ll go on YouTube and show it off as a family tattoo,” Obama told Savannah Guthrie in a taped interview. “And our thinking …

Nursing Home Near Texas Blast: ‘Everything Went Flying Everywhere’

Sometimes it seems there’s a special place in hell reserved for older people. When disaster strikes, it finds the most vulnerable among us. Maybe it’s because they’re often clustered in large groups. Maybe it’s because they’re less likely to be able to save themselves. And maybe in part it’s a numbers game: there’s simply more and more senior citizens. We saw it in New Orleans during Katrina and in the Northeast during Superstorm Sandy. And we saw it again when …

The 3 Budget Plans: How Do They Stack Up?

Now that President Obama has sent his 2014 budget proposal to Congress, three blueprints for the nation’s fiscal future are on the table. The other two are sharply divergent plans drafted by the lawmakers who chair the congressional budget committees: Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.). The Republican-controlled House passed the Ryan budget on March 21; the Democratic-controlled Senate passed the Murray budget two days later. We surveyed news accounts and nonpartisan analyses to pull together the …