HOBBIES ARE GOOD FOR YOUR HEALTH

Do you have a hobby? Hobbies can give meaning and purpose to your life in retirement. As Robert Putnam points out in his book, Bowling Alone, it’s easy to discount the importance of hobbies and social engagements. Putnam details the widespread decline in civic engagement, from PTA memberships to neighborhood potlucks and bowling leagues. Over a couple of generations, Americans have misplaced the concept of free time.

SPECIAL PLANS FOR YOUR SPECIAL PEOPLE

Lily is a beautiful, active and full of personality toddler who happens to have Down syndrome. Lily’s parents and I have been friends for years and I have the continuing pleasure of watching Lily and her siblings grow up. While Lily is becoming a physical therapy rock star and hitting all her milestones in a timely fashion, her parents have started planning for the future.

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WHY WE ENJOY OUR HOBBIES

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines a hobby as “a pursuit outside one’s regular occupation, engaged in especially for relaxation.” Hobbies include anything from playing a musical instrument to gardening, bird watching or sewing. A hobby is a way of focusing on something you enjoy just for the sake of that enjoyment. It may also be a way to clear your mental palette. You could be stressed out by a situation at work or the challenges of raising children and need an escape.

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“The Secretary [Tom Price] never adequately considered whether Kentucky HEALTH would in fact help the state furnish medi-cal assistance to its citizens, a central objective of Medicaid. This signal omission renders his determination arbitrary and capricious,” Boasberg said in his decision. “It cited no research or evidence that this would happen, nor did it make concrete estimates of how beneficiaries might make that transition. And, of course, it is not obvious that the community engagement requirement alone would help a person shift to private insurance. At bottom, the record shows that 95,000 people would lose Medicaid coverage, and yet the Secretary paid no attention to that deprivation. Nor did he address how Kentucky HEALTH would otherwise help furnish medical assistance. [Price] glossed over the impact of the state’s project on the individuals whom Medicaid was enacted to protect.”


Soon after the judgment, the Bevin administration said it would immediately begin working with federal officials at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to review the plan in hopes of addressing any barriers to the implementation of Kentucky HEALTH.

MEDICAID CHANGES: DELAYED BY COURT RULING

federal law. Both sides filed for a summary judgment; Boasberg held the hearing June 13 in Washington, D.C.


Matthew Kuhn, deputy general counsel for Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin, said the changes would help the state avoid spending money it does not have. They were the only way the state could afford expanded Medicaid due to a $300 million shortfall over the next two years, he said. Boasberg questioned this argument since the federal government pays 80 percent of the costs. He further asked the state how requiring community engagement helps with medical care, adding promoting health and medical assistance are two different things.


On June 29, the district judge ruled that approval of Kentucky’s plan by the Trump Administration conflicts with federal Medicaid law. In a 60-page opinion, the judge vacated the approval and sent it back to the federal government for further review. The federal government is obligated under federal law to consider whether a Medicaid proposal advances the program’s objectives, the judge wrote, and the Trump administration failed to meet that standard before approving Kentucky’s plan.

ANGELA S. HOOVER

Angela S. Hoover is a Staff Writer for Living Well 60+ Magazine

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The July 1 rollout of Kentucky HEALTH has been halted by U.S. District Judge James E. Boasberg.


The changes would have eventually affected 480,000 adults, or one in three Kentuckians, by December. They would have required enrollees ages 19-64 years of age to submit monthly documentation of working 80 hours per month. Qualifying work activities would have included employment, job search, job training, education, volunteering, caring for a non- dependent relative or other person with a disabling chronic condition or participating in a substance use disorder treatment program. The changes would have taken away standard coverage for vision, dental and over-the-counter drugs and cap a yearly deductible of $1,000. Since implementing Medicaid expansion in January 2014, Kentucky’s non-elderly adult uninsured rate fell from 16.3 percent in 2013 to 7.2 percent in 2016 – one of the largest reductions in the country.


Health law advocates including the Washington-based National Health Law Program, the Kentucky Equal Justice Center and the Southern Poverty Law Center filed a federal lawsuit on Jan. 24 to block the work requirements. The suit claimed only Congress can change Medicaid law, adding Medicaid is strictly a health plan that does not allow for work requirements imposed by some other federal programs such as SNAP, Kentucky’s monthly premiums to the poor with lock-outs, and making dental, vision and OTC drugs contingent on rewards violates