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In Southfield, Senator Stabenow Announces Bipartisan HOPE for Alzheimer’s Act

U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow today announced legislation to help people who are living with Alzheimer’s disease and support those caring for a family member with this devastating illness. The Health Outcomes, Planning, and Education (HOPE) for Alzheimer’s Act would provide Alzheimer’s patients and their families with much-needed information about the disease and possible treatment options. The bill creates a new care-management planning session for newly diagnosed Alzheimer’s patients under Medicare. This new benefit would encourage doctors to diagnose more patients with Alzheimer’s disease, and will give patients access to a doctor visit to understand the diagnosis, treatment options, and what medical and community services are available.
For over 25 years, Sen. Stabenow has been leading the effort to improve the way Alzheimer’s Disease is diagnosed, increase support for caregivers, and prioritize research into treatments and a cure. As a State Legislator in the 1980s, she chaired a joint committee of the House Public and Mental Health Committees on Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Disorders to improve the diagnosis, caregiver support and research of the disease. Now, Senator Stabenow is using her new role as Ranking Member of the Senate’s Finance Subcommittee on Health to champion early diagnosis and treatment options through Medicare.
‘The early symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease can be terrifying for individuals and their families, especially when they don’t know what’s happening and don’t have a diagnosis,’ said Senator Stabenow. ‘The HOPE for Alzheimer’s Act will give Alzheimer’s patients and their families the information and support they need to cope with this heartbreaking disease. Because of the work being done by Michigan advocates and the Alzheimer’s Association, this can be the year we have a real breakthrough in the fight against Alzheimer’s.’
‘More than 5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s. The HOPE for Alzheimer’s Act will ensure physicians are prepared to conduct care planning with their patients facing Alzheimer’s disease. This includes knowledge of available resources provided by the Alzheimer’s Association. Support from the Alzheimer’s Association and other community resources helps families cope with the difficulties of providing care for someone with this devastating disease. Without an effective treatment, care planning is essential. Care planning can help families faced with Alzheimer’s to be prepared, allowing for better decision making, medical care and future planning,’ states Jennifer Lepard, President/CEO, Alzheimer’s Association-Greater Michigan Chapter.
Fewer than half of people diagnosed with Alzheimer’s say they were told the diagnosis, according to a just-released 2015 Alzheimer’s Association report. In contrast, more than 90 percent of people with the four most common cancers (breast, colorectal, lung, and prostate) say they were told their diagnosis. Alzheimer’s disease is the 6th leading cause of death in the United States and Alzheimer’s and other dementias will cost the nation $226 billion in 2015 according to the new report.
Over the years, studies have shown that providing patients and families with a full range of information and support results in better outcomes for those living with Alzheimer’s, including higher quality of care, increased use of needed community services, reduced patient behavioral and psychiatric symptoms, and reduced caregiver stress and depression.

Read more here:: In Southfield, Senator Stabenow Announces Bipartisan HOPE for Alzheimer’s Act

NASA’s OSIRIS-REx Mission Passes Critical Milestone

NASA’s groundbreaking science mission to retrieve a sample from an ancient space rock has moved closer to fruition. The Origins Spectral Interpretation Resource Identification Security Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx) mission has passed a critical milestone in its path towards launch and is officially authorized to transition into its next phase.

Read more here:: NASA’s OSIRIS-REx Mission Passes Critical Milestone

Curiosity Sniffs Out History of Martian Atmosphere

NASA’s Curiosity rover is using a new experiment to better understand the history of the Martian atmosphere by analyzing xenon.

Read more here:: Curiosity Sniffs Out History of Martian Atmosphere

Senator Stabenow Announces Support for Two Northern Michigan Community Projects

U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow, Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, today announced support for the Gladwin County District Library and Hayes Township’s community kitchen. This funding comes through the USDA’s Rural Development Community Facility Grant program, which funds critical infrastructure in rural communities across the country. ‘The Gladwin Library and Hayes Township community kitchen are important resources for families in these communities,’ said Stabenow. ‘Today’s announcement is one example of the role that rural development plays in helping rural communities create economic development and maintain the quality of life across Michigan.’ The Gladwin County District Library will receive $22,500 to purchase new equipment and furnishings for their children’s learning area. Hayes Township in Clare County will receive $37,500 to buy equipment for their new community kitchen. Senator Stabenow is Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, which oversees the USDA and its Rural Development program.

Read more here:: Senator Stabenow Announces Support for Two Northern Michigan Community Projects

Senator Stabenow Announces Support for Northern Michigan Police to Buy New Police Vehicles

U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow, Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, today announced support for the Clare and Standish Police Departments and Gladwin County Sheriff’s Office. This funding comes through the USDA’s Rural Development Economic Impact Initiative Grant and Community Facility Grant programs, which fund critical infrastructure in rural communities across the country. The funds will be used to help the communities purchase three new police vehicles. ‘Police officers have to cover many miles to protect our families, homes, and communities,’ said Stabenow. ‘These new police cars for Clare, Standish and Gladwin County will help make sure there is always someone there to quickly respond in an emergency.’ Clare will receive $15,750 and Standish will receive $20,250 in Economic Impact Initiative Grants. Gladwin County will receive $9,000 from the Community Facility Grant program. Senator Stabenow is Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, which oversees the USDA and its Rural Development program.

Read more here:: Senator Stabenow Announces Support for Northern Michigan Police to Buy New Police Vehicles

Republicans on Medicare reform: “Never mind”

By Robert Romano

Reforms to Medicare enacted in 1997 to peg the costs of the program to economic growth — the sustainable growth rate — have been repealed easily in the House of Representatives 392 to 37.

These were the same reforms that were the centerpiece of the Balanced Budget Act of 1997 to save the program from what appeared, at the time, to be certain insolvency. After all, that was the year that the Medicare trustees were predicting that the Hospital Insurance Trust Fund would be exhausted by 2001.

The same reforms that were at the heart of two government shutdowns in late 1995 and early 1996. It was all about containing the costs of Medicare.

Well, to quote the immortal words of Gilda Radner’s Emily Litella character from Saturday Night Live, “Never mind.”

The Congressional Budget Office reports that the legislation, which increases payments to doctors and reauthorizes Children’s Health Insurance Program through fiscal year 2017, will add $141 billion to the debt over the next 10 years — and that’s before you even count interest, which could add another $30 billion.

As for the second 10 years, the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget estimates that the legislation could add another $325 billion or so to the debt by 2035.

That is, if the program even gets that far. In 2014 the trust fund was said to be exhausted in 2030. Since the program adds to the debt, this outcome cannot be good for long-term health of the program.

Although to be fair, the trustees have already baked a repeal of the sustainable growth rate into the cake: “This year’s report (and this Summary) gives primary emphasis to the projected baseline, in which it is assumed that sustainable growth rate reductions are overridden by Congress, as has occurred in every year since 2003.”

Commenting on the legislation, Americans for Limited Government President Rick Manning did not see much changing about the trajectory of the program: “The doc fix conversation that was forced by the sustainable growth rate was a good thing. It created a regular legislative discussion around the expanding costs of Medicare and the threat posed to our nation’s financial security. Now, under this deal, that honest discussion has been traded for a fix that fails to save the program, creates massive amounts of new debt, and locks in some of Obama’s expanded social welfare spending as part of the deal.”

Manning added, “If this Congress was serious about saving the Medicare program, they would institute their reforms right now, which will be no less jarring in 2018 when they finally take effect. This kick-the-can approach guarantees that taxpayers will assume the increased costs of the program, and postpones the pain for a future Congress to deal with.”

Meaning the program won’t do a thing to save the trust fund. The only consolation is that Congress is broadcasting what it intends to do when it is finally exhausted.

The trustees warn that when the fund runs out, “dedicated revenues will be sufficient to pay 85 percent of … costs. The Trustees project that the share of … cost that can be financed with … dedicated revenues will decline slowly to 75 percent in 2047, and will then stay about flat.”

Right away, Medicare beneficiaries and the doctors who collect would be looking at a 15 percent cut, increasing to a 25 percent cut in the years thereafter.

But won’t that just be another “unsustainable cut” — a term used by the Republican-controlled House Ways and Means Committee to describe the sustainable growth rate — to benefits and doctor pay?

So what will Congress do when it comes time for the cuts? They’ll just borrow it. And whatever cannot be borrowed publicly, the Federal Reserve will pick up the tab.

That’s right. Just ignore the trust fund. After all, that’s what Congress does. And with that in mind, since they’re just going to borrow and print the money for the benefits anyway, why not just let young people keep their FICA tax and just opt out altogether?

After all, it’s not like we ever have to pay that debt back, right? If Congress does not think it needs to pay for Medicare, why should taxpayers? Just saying.

Robert Romano is the senior editor of Americans for Limited Government.

Source: GetLiberty.org News Release

Oral arguments in the Michigan Supreme Court set for April 7

LANSING, MI, March 30, 2015 – The Michigan Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on April 7 in cases involving a tax dispute between Detroit Edison and the Department of Treasury, paternity, OWI convictions, governmental immunity, and effective assistance of counsel.

In Detroit Edison v the Department of Treasury, Treasury conducted a tax audit determining that Detroit Edison had incorrectly calculated its liability under the Use Tax Act. Edison argued that the machinery and equipment was used in industrial processing and was exempt from use tax.

In Helton v Beaman, plaintiff Helton sued Lisa and Douglas Beaman claiming DNA proved Helton, not Beaman, was the biological father of a child born to Lisa Beaman. Helton sued the Beamans asserting that an affidavit of parentage was signed under a “mistake of fact.”

In People v Miller, Joseph Miller was convicted of OUIL and OUIL causing serious injury. Miller argued that the two convictions violated state and federal constitutional prohibitions against double jeopardy and that he was being subjected to multiple punishments for the same offense.

In Nash v Duncan Park Commission, Diane Nash filed suit against Duncan Park Commission and Duncan Park Trust and its trustees for the sledding death of 11-year-old Chance Nash at Duncan Park in Grand Haven. Duncan Park Commission argued that the lawsuits were barred by governmental immunity.

In People v Trowbridge, Alan Trowbridge rejected plea offers after he was charged with five counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct and proceeded to trial. Two counts were dismissed and the jury convicted Trowbridge of three counts. Because Trowbridge had previously pled guilty to fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct, the judge was required to sentence him to life without parole. Trowbridge argued that his attorney provided ineffective assistance by failing to tell him that he faced life in prison if convicted.

The Court will hear the appeals in its courtroom on the sixth floor of the Michigan Hall of Justice on April 7 beginning at 9:30 a.m. Oral arguments are open to the public.

The Court broadcasts its oral arguments and other hearings live on the Internet via streaming video technology. Watch the stream live only while the Court is in session and on the bench. Streaming will begin shortly before the hearings start; audio will be muted until justices take the bench.

Senators Stabenow and Wicker Lead Bipartisan Group of 60 Senators Urging Support for Community Health Centers

U.S. Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Roger Wicker (R-MS), along with 58 other Senators, urged support for community health centers, which could have their funding cut by nearly 70 percent in September. In a letter to U.S. Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Chairman Roy Blunt (R-MO) and Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA), the bipartisan group of 60 Senators requested continued funding from the appropriators, explaining that the potential mandatory cuts at the end of this fiscal year could result in site closures and prevent millions of people in high-need communities from accessing cost-effective, primary care services. The letter reads in part: ‘We are concerned about the scheduled expiration of the Health Center Fund at the end of this fiscal year, which would put Health Centers around the country at risk of a reduction or interruption of services, and we encourage you to work with us to ensure the fiscal sustainability of the health center program. Without access to primary care, many people, including the chronically ill, delay seeking health care until they are seriously ill and require inpatient hospitalization or care at an emergency room at a much higher cost to the entire health-care system.’ Health centers serve as the health care home for nearly 600,000 Michigan residents in 200 clinics across the state. In Mississippi, where the first rural community health center opened half a century ago, over 300,000 patients are served annually at 170 delivery sites. The full text of the letter follows: Dear Chairman Blunt and Ranking Member Murray, We would like to thank the Subcommittee for your continued support and recognition of Health Centers as a long-standing bipartisan solution to the primary care access shortage facing our country. During the Fiscal Year (FY) 2016 Appropriations process, we respectfully request that the Subcommittee continue to recognize Health Centers as providers of high quality, cost-effective primary care and that you work to ensure their continued sustainability and viability in the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and Related Agencies legislation. This year marks fifty years since the first Health Centers opened their doors. Since the inception of the program, Health Centers have worked to provide primary care and a variety of support and medical services, such as dental and behavioral care, to America’s most vulnerable patients and communities. Today, nearly 1,300 health center organizations serve more than 9,000 urban and rural communities nationwide. Health Centers are the health-care home for more than 23 million patients, including nearly seven million children and more than 268,000 veterans. These centers employ more than 156,000 Americans, and generate an economic impact and overall cost savings of over $24 billion. America’s Health Centers have continually proven to be a worthwhile investment by meeting the nation’s growing demands for quality and affordable health care. We are concerned about the scheduled expiration of the Health Center Fund at the end of this fiscal year, which would put Health Centers around the country at risk of a reduction or interruption of services, and we encourage you to work with us to ensure the fiscal sustainability of the health center program. Without access to primary care, many people, including the chronically ill, delay seeking health care until they are seriously ill and require inpatient hospitalization or care at an emergency room at a much higher cost to the entire health-care system. As Congress works to improve access to care and reduce health-care expenditures, we urge the Subcommittee to support Health Centers, allowing them to continue to provide cost-effective primary care. Thank you for your continued support of the vital role Health Centers play in preserving and expanding access to care in the communities they serve.
Sincerely,
Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) Roger Wicker (R-MS)Richard Burr (R-NC) Robert Menendez (D-NJ)Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) Charles Schumer (D-NY)Johnny Isakson (R-GA) Jon Tester (D-MT)Mark Kirk (R-IL) Joe Donnelly (D-IN)John Cornyn (R-TX) Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI)Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) Dan Sullivan (R-AK)Chris Coons (D-DE) John Hoeven (R-ND)Deb Fischer (R-NE) Elizabeth Warren (D-MA)Mark Warner (D-VA) Jeff Merkley (D-OR)Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) Angus King (I-ME)Martin Heinrich (D-NM) Al Franken (D-MN)Michael Bennet (D-CO) Tim Kaine (D-VA)David Perdue (R-GA) Richard Blumenthal (D-CT)Ron Wyden (D-OR) James Risch (R-ID)Richard Durbin (D-IL) Cory Gardner (R-CO)Tom Udall (D-NM) Dianne Feinstein (D-CA)Christopher Murphy (D-CT) Barbara Boxer (D-CA)Benjamin Cardin (D-MD) Joe Manchin III (D-WV)Cory Booker (D-NJ) Maria Cantwell (D-WA)Gary Peters (D-MI) Brian Schatz (D-HI)Jack Reed (D-RI) Bill Nelson (D-FL)Tom Carper (D-DE) Kelly Ayotte (R-NH)Susan Collins (R-ME) James Inhofe (R-OK)Bernard Sanders (I-VT) Mazie Hirono (D-HI)Chuck Grassley (R-IA) Edward Markey (D-MA)Sherrod Brown (D-OH) Tammy Baldwin (D-WI)Marco Rubio (R-FL) Patrick Leahy (D-VT)Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) Mike Crapo (R-ID)Steve Daines (R-MT) Michael Enzi (R-WY)

Read more here:: Senators Stabenow and Wicker Lead Bipartisan Group of 60 Senators Urging Support for Community Health Centers

NASA Announces New Partnerships with U.S. Industry for Key Deep-Space Capabilities

Building on the success of NASA’s partnerships with commercial industry to date, NASA has selected 12 Next Space Technologies for Exploration Partnerships (NextSTEP) to advance concept studies and technology development projects in the areas of advanced propulsion, habitation and small satellites.

Read more here:: NASA Announces New Partnerships with U.S. Industry for Key Deep-Space Capabilities

NASA Administrator, President’s Science Advisor to Speak with Astronaut on Yearlong Space Station Mission

NASA Administrator Charles Bolden will be joined by John Holdren, science advisor to President Obama and director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, and former astronaut Mark Kelly for the first public conversation with astronaut Scott Kelly from the International Space Station on Monday, March 30.

Read more here:: NASA Administrator, President’s Science Advisor to Speak with Astronaut on Yearlong Space Station Mission

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