Aging in Place with Gene Nicolelli
A Video Recorded by John Risken
Gene Nicolelli is an architect who is certified by the National Association of Home Builders as an Aging in Place Specialist. You can listen to a recording of the seminar Gene presented at the Think Again Brooklyns forum on November 27, 2018. When homes, apartments, and condos are built to accomdate people who require wheelchairs either temporarily or permanently, they will often be able to delay the need to live in an assisted living center or a nursing home. This makes it possible for people to continue living with family members or near friends. It also makes their living expenses more affordable as living in a home, apartment, or condo costs far less than a nursing home or assisted living facility with care, both of which can run over $9,000 a month. The high cost of care in either of these institutions is higher than most people can afford so most of the cost is often paid by Medicaid which is likely to result in increased state and county taxes.
The American Association of Retired Persons reports that only one percent of apartments and homes are fully accessible. For that reason Think Again MN is encouraging municipalities to require new construction to include accessibility standards. The cost of meeting these standards is very modest for newly constructed dwellings, but can be very high for homes that need remodeling or impossible for many of the split entry homes and three story walk up or down apartments in Brooklyn Center and Brooklyn Park.
Vulnerable Elders Face Scare, not Care
Video by Bill Sorem, Video Producer at the Uptake
The December, 2018, Minneapolis League of Women Voters Civic Buzz presented a discussion entitled, “Vulnerable Elders Face Scare not Care.” A packed house listened and questioned. Presenters were Kris Sandberg, President of the Elder Voice Family Advocates and Sean Burke, Public Policy Director of the Minnesota Elder Justice Center. A packed house listened and questioned.
Elder housing is a continuum of care options ranging from independent living housing (rental, condominium or cooperative), assisted living facilities to nursing homes. Nursing homes are licensed by the federal government. On the other hand, Minnesota is the only state that does not license assisted living facilities according to Elder Voice Family Advocates.
Assisted living abuse issues were highlighted in a 2017 series by Chris Serres in the Minneapolis Star Tribune. One of the conclusions of this report was, “Each year, hundreds of Minnesotans are beaten, sexually assaulted or robbed in senior care homes. Their cases are seldom investigated, leaving families in the dark.”
Burke said assisted living facilities involve two components. One is the physical facility, the other the specific care providers. In some cases they are one unit, in others they are separate facility management and staffing groups. Thus responsibility and/or liability are not always clearly defined. Burke also pointed out that since Minnesota does not license assisted living facilities, there are no clear staffing requirements for training or experience.
The Scope of this Immigration Portal
This immigration portal presents the origins of current American immigration policy and the harm done to immigrants and their families, as well as to cities, states, and the national economy by the current U.S. immigration policy. It uses as examples estimates of the cost of the nation's current deportation policy on the state of Minnesota and for one suburb, Brooklyn Park. The immigration portal emphasizes the importance of human rights as the foundation for immigration policy.
In the process of researching the causes and costs of the current U.S immigration policy, it became apparent that several other policy issues are very important. These include the importance of early childhood education for children under stress; the impact of industrialized agriculture, not only on destroying the financial viability of community farming in Mexico and parts of Africa and family farms in the U.S., but also on greatly increasing greenhouse gas emissions and the pollution of rivers, streams, and lakes in the U.S. and in many other countries across the planet. This points to the need for human rights to be a central consideration in all public policy issues including climate and environmental policy, trade policy, health, education, labor, and prison policies. The United States has fallen behind in support of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other Human Rights Conventions.
Begin your exploration of the immigration portal with the overview of topics covered including links to the topics.
Bill Blazar, MN Chamber of Commerce Senior Vice President of Public Affairs and Business Development, presented an excellent discussion on “Immigrants' Contribution to MN's Business Success” at the April 2018 Think Again Brooklyns forum. Senior residents of Maple Grove who heard about the forum suggested that Think Again MN collaborate with the Maple Grove Senior Center to have Bill present the program again at the Maple Grove Community Center.
Kris Orluck, the Senior Program Coordinator for Maple Grove worked with Think Again MN to arrange the forum for September 26, 2018. Think Again MN’s videographer John Risken filmed the presentation so more people could gain the knowledge Bill Blazar shared of the big contribution immigrants are making to MN’s economy and the necessity of reforming U.S. immigration policy. Watch Bill Blazar's excellent presentation accompanied by informative slides on vimeo.
Creating Paths to Citizenship Can
Reduce the Growing National Deficit
As of September 30, 2017, the U.S. budget deficit was $665.7 billion or about 3.5% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). As a result of the tax bill, the budget deficit was expected to rise to $1 trillion in 2019, which is equivalent of about 4.8% of GDP. The U.S. budget that was just passed would increase next year’s deficits to about $1.2 trillion.
How might this big increase in the U.S. budget deficit be reduced? Douglas Holtz-Eakin, Congressional Budget Office Director under President H. W. Bush and currently President of the conservative American Action Forum, concluded in 2013 that increasing the number of immigrants would reduce the federal deficit by about $300 billion per year or by $2.7 trillion over 10 years.
A 2016 Center for American Progress study found that deporting 7 million unauthorized immigrants nationally, about five percent of the U.S. workforce, would amount to a loss of $4.7 trillion in gross domestic product and a loss of $900 billion in federal government revenues. This study concluded that GDP would immediately drop 1.6% and would drop by 2.6% over 10 years. The federal deficit would increase close to a trillion dollars by 2026.
Larry Krasner’s Campaign to End Mass Incarceration
By Jennifer Gonnerman, the New Yorker
October 29, 2018 Issue of the Annals of Justice
A Big Problem in the Cost and Quality of Health Care
Nationally and Here in Minnesota
Medicaid has grown to represent 30% of the typical state budget and is crowding out education, transportation and other needs.
Two thirds of states have outsourced their Medicaid programs to managed care plans rather than have Medicare directly pay doctors and hospitals.
The private plan providers then often refuse to provide the data that would determine whether our tax dollars are being well-used because they regard the data as proprietary information.
Following is an article that gives an example from California. It is an example that applies to patients nationally and has also been experienced by patients in some states who have Medicare Advantage Plans where an insurance company is paid a fixed amount by Medicare for the patient, and then the insurance company is responsible for covering all of the patient's costs
"As Billions In Tax Dollars Flow To Private Medicaid Plans, Who’s Minding The Store?"
By Chad Terhune, Photos by Heidi de Marco October 18, 2018
Hogwash and its Aftermath
"North Carolina is home to the second-largest concentration of pig-raising facilities in the United States (behind only Iowa). The state has more than 2,200 pork CAFOs (concentrated animal feeding operations) holding more than nine million pigs and more than 3,900 poultry operations. More than 90 percent of that state’s pork production is controlled by just one company: Smithfield. Smithfield’s parent company, the Chinese WH Group, is the largest pork processor in the world and worth $15 billion."
Just prior to Hurricane Florence, manure was overapplied in fields, releasing climate warming nitrous oxide gas into the air. The harm done was not limited to emitting greenhouse gases (GHGs), but the manure was then washed into floodwaters that spread it over a vast terrain. Read the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP) article based on research completed last summer by GRAIN and IATP.
Note that MN is also a leading industrial farming state with accompanying huge greenhouse gas emissions, and widespread lake, river, and acquifer pollution, especially in the southern and western areas of the state. The high level of air pollution causes increased health care problems, especially respiratory illness, for people living within two miles of a factory farm.