weekly blog--one for the ages
Separately, China’s premier and his government allies want to retrofit as many as three million older, walk-up apartment buildings with elevators. The strategy reflects the evolution of China from a youthful, impoverished country to a graying and increasingly middle-class one. Putting an elevator in a building usually costs less than $100,000, which is significantly less than the billions previously spent on the development of high-speed rail lines and superhighways to move the country forward and pump money into the economy.
No drilling, needle prick or trip to the dentist required. Silver diamine fluoride, approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 2014 for reducing tooth sensitivity, has also been adopted by dentists as a cavity treatment for patients who can’t easily get a filling, such as the very young or the very old, according to an article in Kaiser Health News.
Fast, low-cost and pain free, Silver diamine fluoride is a liquid that can be painted on teeth to stop decay. The topical medication is an especially good option for seniors, dental industry experts say, because dental care has remained a major gap in health insurance coverage despite poor dental hygiene being linked to heart disease and other health problems like diabetes and pneumonia.
Medicare does not cover most dental care, and patients on a fixed income often can’t afford treatment. But because of the effectiveness and low cost of silver diamine fluoride, more state Medicaid programs now cover it, and older adults who pay out-of-pocket can afford it outright.
Silver diamine fluoride has been used in other countries for decades, and studies have proved it safe. Its biggest downside is that it permanently turns the decayed area black, however, dental providers say the black spots can be covered by tooth-colored material for an extra cost.
The U.S. enters the ninth month of the CoVid pandemic with more than 6.3 million confirmed cases and more than 189,000 confirmed deaths. Every day, the case count rises by around 40,000 and the death toll by around 800 because many sections of the country have not followed the science and taken the threat seriously.
Egregious lies and conspiracy theories aside, distorting the debate around whether to stay at home, wear masks, or open colleges has prevented citizens from grasping the scope of the crisis, and pushed leaders toward bad policies.
A Kaiser Health News analysis of data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention underscores the extent of the vulnerability to African Americans. It found that those ages 65 to 74 died of COVID-19 five times as often as whites. In the 75-to-84 group, the death rate was 3.5 times greater. Among those 85 and older, they died twice as often. In all three age groups, death rates for Hispanics were higher than for whites but lower than for Blacks.
Social and economic disadvantage, reinforced by racism, plays a significant part in unequal outcomes, according to the KHN analysis. Throughout their lives, Blacks have poor access to health care and receive services of lower quality than does the general population. Starting in middle age, the toll becomes evident: more chronic medical conditions (diabetes, chronic kidney disease, obesity, heart failure, pulmonary hypertension, among others), which worsen over time, and cause earlier deaths.
At the same time, many vulnerable Black seniors are deeply distrustful of government and health care institutions, complicating efforts to mitigate the pandemic’s impact.
This news comes by way of an opinion piece on CNN. As you know, the President recently ordered the Treasury Department to stop collecting Social Security's dedicated payroll contributions for the next four months based on an IRS Code which permits deferrals of taxes when a disaster is declared. Should he be re-elected and continue with deferring those taxes, all Social Security benefits will come to a screeching halt.
According to estimates by the independent chief actuary of the Social Security Administration, if all Social Security contributions from payroll tax stopped on Jan. 1, 2021, the nearly 10 million people today receiving Social Security Disability Insurance benefits, which averages about $1,125 every month, would see them stop abruptly in the middle of 2021.
The 55 million receiving Social Security Old-Age and Survivors Insurance benefits, which average around $1,440 a month, would see them disappear two years later. Social Security would be without money to pay benefits by 2023 unless Congress enacted veto-proof legislation, which is highly unlikely at this time.
Prior to running for president, Trump endorsed privatizing Social Security and raising its full retirement age to 70. Some pundits are giving the President the benefit of the doubt, arguing that Congress would simply make up for the missing payroll contributions with general revenue. However, that would be highly unlikely because it would cost more than $1 trillion a year and double the fiscal year 2019 deficit.