Shalom. The election is over and the Electoral College has spoken. We will not be reviewing or analyzing results. Rather, I wanted to put forth some thoughts on what will be a major issue for Boomers and our families, an issue that was raised again this weekend during a scholar in residence at a congregation during a session on care-giving. We need, regardless of party affiliation, to be aware and involved in proposed changes to funding of Medicare and Social Security. This will be, I think, a major social justice issue for us in these next four years, as decisions will impact us and our families. This is not theory.
A day after the election, an article came out on the Forbes magazine site entitled “What The Trump Presidency Means fo Seniors”. (www.forbes.com) The article, by Howard Gleckman, begins with stating that, with both houses and the presidency, this “will likely result in major cuts in federal programs that benefit oder adults and younger people with disabilities.” Gleckman goes on to be concerned that Medicare could be a target. The article points out that there was, during the campaign, some disconnect between Trump positions and that of House/Senate leadership. Of course all of this will be up for grabs after January 20th.
With a proposed tax cut and a proposed restructure of the ACA, we could see some major changes in funding and reimbursements to doctors and hospitals that could impact care. Gleckman also cautions that the new administration may also seek to redefine the capping of federal funding to Medicare, throwing more responsibilities to states. “Such a cap would limit the amount Medicaid will have available to pay providers such as nursing homes or home health agencies and will inevitably reduce care for seniors.” Gleckman also notes possible changes in premiums, cost of living index and the impact of raising the retirement age for social security.
There are major issues here and, if we approach this from a perspective of Jewish values, we can appreciate that we need to be vigilant on these issues. We are told that 10,000 people a day ar enow turning 65 and will do so for the next decade plus. ALso, that the costs of home health care for loved ones continues to rise. Will these proposed changes in federal law bring more burden to families who now struggle to care for loved ones, maintain a family and try to meet the demands of daily life? Is there a moral imperative here to make sure that people do not have to be impoverished as they age and who may not have the luxury of huge savings? We will try at Jewish Sacred Aging to continue to follow this issue, as it will impact every one of our families.
Your thoughts and suggestions are appreciated.
Rabbi Richard F Address
Rabbi Richard F. Address, D.Min, is the Founder and Director of www.jewishsacredaging.com. Rabbi Address served for over three decades on staff of the Union for Reform Judaism; first as a Regional Director and then, beginning in 1997, as Founder and Director of the URJ’s Department of Jewish Family Concerns and served as a specialist and consultant for the North American Reform Movement in the areas of family related programming. Rabbi Address was ordained from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in 1972 and began his rabbinic career in Los Angeles congregations. He also served as a part time rabbi for Beth Hillel in Carmel, NJ while regional director and, after his URJ tenure, served as senior rabbi of Congregation M’kor Shalom in Cherry Hill, NJ from 2011-2014.