What’s New?

Amazon.com reached an agreement with the State of California legislature, so the Silver Buzz Cafe Store is back. :-)


“Green” Blogging


We believe in protecting our environment, so the Silver Buzz Cafe web site is hosted on a server in a "green", energy conserving data center. 100% of the power for the datacenter is bought from suppliers that use renewable energy sources, such as hydroelectric, windmill and solar plants.


Drug Stores Make Flu Shots Available Early

Several drugstores will begin offering flu shots tomorrow, about three to four weeks ahead of the usual start to the flu shot season. Three flu shots will be needed this year. The first one, designed to stave off seasonal flu, has been released early. The other two should help protect recipients against the H1N1 virus, commonly known as the swine flu. They will be available in mid-October. There have been 556 deaths and 8,843 hospitalizations due to H1N1 in the USA this year. [...]

Transportation for Seniors

One of the most daunting challenges as we age comes when we have to give up driving, or we no longer have a family member or friend who can help transport us around. One of the best resources we’ve found while researching this topic is the National Center on Senior Transportation, run by the Easter Seals organization. A number of organizations, such as Mercy Medical Airlift, specialize in finding air transportation for needy patients. We’ve provided links to these and other transportation resources on the Useful Sites page. [...]

Senator Edward Kennedy and Healthcare

Today the nation said goodbye to Senator Edward Kennedy. He authored more than 2,500 bills during his 46 years in the United States Senate. However, healthcare held a special place in his life. He championed many bills related to it. He continued to champion the proposed Health Insurance reform Bill (HR 3200) even while terminally ill with brain cancer. He will be sorely missed. Please take a few moments to visit the American Cancer Society site site. This is a disease we have to beat. [...]

Senior News Roundup

We thought we’d have a change of pace today and simply summarize some serialized articles we’ve run recently and point you to a few news articles that caught our attention this week. The health insurance reform debate has occupied a lot of our time as it could have a large impact on many seniors. Also, last month we ran a series of articles on the effects of aging on our senses. Have a great weekend and don’t forget to check the new items in the Silver Buzz Cafe Store. [...]

A Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plan May Save You Money

Medicare Part D is an optional government program that subsidizes prescription costs for Medicare beneficiaries. Despite its success at reducing costs for enrollees, about 4.5 million eligible people are not taking advantage of it. Experts believe that the main reason for this is that it’s difficult for seniors to determine whether or not they are eligible and exactly which offering (and there are many) to sign up for. As of 2008 there were 1,824 stand-alone Part D plans available. The number of available plans varied by region. Participants can choose a plan that best meets their individual needs. This article will help you determine eligibility, check plans and tell you when to apply. [...]

Proof That Socialized Healthcare Works Better Than Our System

There has been a lot of noise in the past week or so regarding socialized healthcare, with critics claiming that systems such as the one used in the United Kingdom (UK) are inferior to the one we have here. My husband, being British, finally cracked and decided to take a look at the facts for me. Bear in mind that his 93 year old mother is alive and well in the UK. She pays nothing for house calls by her Doctor and social workers, preventive screenings or any other healthcare cost. The United States came in at numbers 37, 24 and 72 in three studies of the effectiveness of healthcare systems. As a nation, we pay more than twice as much per head for our healthcare as the ones with predominantly socialized healthcare, but the only benefit we get is that we get treated faster. [...]

Pure Manure - The Death Book Fiasco

On August 18, 2009 the Wall Street Journal published a vitriolic fabrication by Jim Towey in which he accused Veterans Affair administrators of publishing a “Death Book For Veterans”. He was referring to a 52-page end-of-life planning document, “Your Life, Your Choices.” Towey’s fabrication of a “Death Book” rumor, coupled with his self interested promotion of a seriously flawed guide to Advance Medical Directives, prompted us to add a new low to our HealthBillOmeter. We award Towey’s Death Book lies and all of the people spreading them, including Rush Limbaugh, Sarah Palin and Fox News, a Silver Buzz Cafe “Pure Manure” rating. [...]

2010 Social Security Payments Under Fire

Barbara Kennelly, a former Democratic congresswoman from Connecticut who now heads the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare (NCPSSM), is sounding the alarm on a potential drop on income from Social Security payments next year. That’s because the trustees who oversee Social Security are projecting that there won’t be a cost of living adjustment (COLA) for the next two years. The NCCPSSM would like to see a one percent increase in monthly payments, or a one-time payment of $150. Not everybody agrees with the NCPSSM. Andrew G. Biggs, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, a Washington think tank says – “Seniors may perceive that they are being hurt because there is no COLA, but they are in fact not getting hurt.” [...]

How To Spot Pharmacy Errors

A third of the pills in a container of medicine I received from my local pharmacy were a different color and size than than the other ones. Being a nurse, I checked the pills using Epocrates. Sure enough, it was the wrong medication and might have interacted with another one I was taking. Making sure that you were dispensed the correct medication may save your life. You should also consider using a medication manager and electronic alarm, as featured on our Gadgets page. [...]

Will Steny Hoyer Sell Out to the Healthcare Industry?

In San Francisco on Thursday, August 20, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said: “There’s no way I can pass a bill in the House of Representatives without a public option.” Just a day later, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said that the public option may have to go in order to get a bill passed. Steny Hoyer doesn’t appear to be backing the public option. Maybe that’s because he is the third largest recipient of health sector political contributions, amounting to $2,592,149. Maybe he should read Marlowe’s “The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus.” [...]

Is Grandma a Closet Alcoholic?

A little wine now and again, especially red wine, can be beneficial to our health. However, disturbing facts have emerged from a recent survey in the United Kingdom (UK) that should alert all of us to the dangers of alcohol abuse by seniors. This isn’t just a problem in the UK, it’s a rising concern in Japan, most of Europe, Australia, Canada and the United States, all of whom have aging populations. Alcoholism can be beaten, but it’s a slow road. Catching it early is much more likely to help than being polite and hoping it just isn’t true. [...]

Are the Blue Dogs Really Working For You?

The Democratic Blue Dog Coalition is a group of currently 52 moderate and conservative Democratic Party members of the United States House of Representatives (The House). Unfortunately, the Blue Dogs are planning to protect the interests of the healthcare providers, rather than fighting to reduce costs to their voters. Could it have anything to do with the fact that the Blue Dogs received $18,919,541 in campaign contributions from the health sector? [...]

Seniors' Lifestyle Can Reduce their Risk of Class 2 Diabetes

The most prevalent form of diabetes in seniors over the age of 65 is termed Class 2 Diabetes. It is a chronic condition that affects the way your body metabolizes sugar (glucose), which is the main source of fuel for your body. Once you have it there is no cure. However, it can be managed, or even prevented. A study1 by researchers from Harvard Medical School and the Cardiovascular Health Study found direct links between lifestyle and diabetes in seniors aged 65 and older. [...]

Does Healthcare Industry Money Influence Politicians?

The healthcare industry spends a lot of money in Washington. Every politician takes campaign contributions from special interest groups. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, as charities and other non-profits can lobby them too. However, those contributions must benefit the companies in some way, otherwise they wouldn’t be making them. An analysis by OpenSecrets.org concluded that the politicians who voted against the draft of the Health Insurance Reform Bill had received about twice as much in contributions from healthcare interests as the ones who voted for it. [...]

Additional Protections in HR3200

President Obama is on the road conducting a series of town hall meetings to discuss the proposed reforms in the Health Insurance Reform Bill (HR3200). Last week we talked about being able to continue your current healthcare insurance and some important new consumer protections in the Bill. Today we want to cover five other new benefits of the proposed coverage. [...]

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