One of the few things that truly surprised me in reading the morning papers today was a story in USA Today about a just released report that shows that one in three older adults die with Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia.
The report also says that payments for health care, long-term care and hospice are expected to increase by more than a trillion dollars by 2050, and that Medicare costs for seniors with Alzheimer's or other dementia's are nearly three times higher than for those without it. For those on Medicaid, payments are 19 times higher.
This is obviously distressing news on a number of fronts, but just look at it from an economic point of view. The drivers of our debt, as well know, are escalating medical costs that nobody really has found a way to control. And we know that an extraordinary amount of money and care is spent on Americans in the last year(s) of their life. With more people expected to get this mentally debilitating disease as they age (and maybe when they're not even that old, as is the case with former women's basketball coach Pat Summitt), this is yet another challenge for medical science to try to cure, or slow down (along with cancer and HIV).
In the news yesterday, the Republican National Committee released their fascinating "autopsy" on the fortunes of their party, and as you might have already heard, lots of it consists doing a lot more to shore up Latino support. But just hours after the report came out, several Republicans blasted President Obama's new choice for Labor secretary, Thomas Perez, who is of Dominican descent. The man may totally be deserving of such a rebuke, but if Republicans realize that a lot of their problem when it comes to "tone," it might behoove those critical senators to keep that in mind as they try to bring down yet another Obama cabinet nominee.
In 2011 Tallahassee Republicans changed the rules on voting in Florida, created a tremendous backlash at the polls last year (and also contributed to absurdly long lines). So far many of those same Republicans have lowered their heads and essentially said,"my bad," as they attempt to reverse their 2011 actions. But though they have so far changed many of those provisions, Senate Democrats in the Legislature say they can do more.
And there are some activists who still cling to the notion that they can convince one Republican on the Hillsborough Board of County Commission to change his or her mind regarding a domestic partner registry - while others say it's much better to use the issue to reject those commissioners when they run for re-election in 2014.