Senate Deal on Jobless Benefits Won’t Bring Fast Relief for Unemployed

One of the hurdles blocking the extension of unemployment insurance benefits for about 2 million long-term unemployed workers has been eliminated. A small group of Republicans and Democrats in the Senate on March 13 reached an agreement that would extend benefits for another five months – gathering enough support to prevent a filibuster by opponents. The extension would be retroactive to Dec. 28, 2013, when benefits expired. Legislators who have been against extending benefits cite the cost, which runs about …

24 Veterans Get Long-Overdue Medals of Honor

Melvin Morris vividly remembers the day in September 1969 when he became a war hero in the eyes of others. Morris was a young Green Beret staff sergeant in South Vietnam. After his master sergeant was killed in a jungle ambush in the vicinity of Chi Lang, Morris, serving as the commander of a Special Forces strike force, went back into the line of fire three times to recover the body and a map case – and was wounded three …

The Cost of Not Expanding Medicaid

States have divided almost evenly on whether to expand Medicaid to millions more low-income Americans, many of them uninsured. Many Republican governors or state legislatures have rejected expansion, saying that although the federal government will pick up most of the tab now, states could be left on the hook in the future. Sign up for the AARP Health Newsletter And although expansion aims for low-income people, “you’re expanding coverage for graduate students and Starbucks baristas,” says Edmund Haislmaier, senior research fellow at the Heritage …

Oldest Member of Congress Faces Runoff Election

Rep. Ralph Hall (R-Texas), the oldest member of Congress, faces a primary runoff after failing to lock up his party’s nomination March 4. Hall, a World War II Navy pilot who came to Congress in 1981 and will turn 91 in May, has said this will be his last race to represent Texas’ 4th Congressional District. But former U.S. Attorney John Ratcliffe, who is 48, said he wasn’t going to wait to run because Hall had made that claim in the …

Obama Budget Proposal Targets Medicare Savings

As expected, President Obama’s budget proposal abandoned a call to change the way annual increases in Social Security benefits are calculated and continued a call for Medicare savings. Announced March 4, his plan, which goes next to Congress, would hit some Medicare providers, drug companies and higher-income Medicare beneficiaries as part of $402 billion in estimated health care savings over the next decade. Among the proposed changes for beneficiaries: Charge higher premiums for Parts B and D for higher-income people …

Alzheimer’s: In More Ways Than One, the Costliest Disease

Alzheimer’s disease accounts for more U.S. health care spending than any other disease, and that share will skyrocket as the nation’s population ages, experts told members of a Senate health subcommittee on Feb. 26. Research shows that 14.7 percent of Americans 71 and older had dementia in 2010 and that the condition, on average, was associated with $41,685 a year in medical and informal-care costs, said Michael D. Hurd, director of the RAND Center for the Study of Aging. Dementia …