GBO NEWS: World Aging Conference; GOP Senate Bill—Savings vs. Deaths; National Press Club Award to KHN’s Anna Gorman; WSJ on Doctors “Too Old to Practice?”; & More


E-News of the Journalists Network on GenerationsOur 24th Year.

June ­28, 2017 — Volume 17, Number 7

Editor’s Note: GBO News, e-news of the Journalists Network on Generation publishes alerts for journalists, producers and authors covering generational issues. Send your news of important stories or books (by you and others), fellowships, awards or pertinent kvetches to GBO News Editor Paul Kleyman. You can subscribe to at no charge simply by sending a request to Paul with your name, address, phone number and editorial affiliation or note that you freelance. You’ll receive the table of contents as e-mail, just click through to the full issue at

In This Issue: Oh-oh, CBO says, 22 million. Hey, look over there—Syria! Iran!

1. AGING & THE WORLD: *** Reporters at World Congress of Gerontology & Geriatrics, San Francisco, July 23-27.

2. HEALTH CARE REFORM SCHOOL:  *** “Senate Leadership’s Health Bill a Big Tax Cut for Top One Percent,” Tax Policy Center; *** 29,000 Lives Lost a Year– Lack of Insurance Deadly?  Annals of Internal Medicine; *** And Now a Word from Our History: “GOP Health Bill—How We Got Into This Mess,” by Paul Kleyman, New America Media.

3. GEN BEATLES NEWS: *** KHN’s Anna Gorman Wins National Press Club Award; *** Diane Joy Schmidt’s Double Honors in All New Mexico Press Women Awards; *** KQED Reporter Alice Daniel, Gets Fulbright to Teach Journalism in Accra, Ghana.

4. GOOD SOURCES: ***American Indian Diabetes Prevention Center’s Digital Stories website [] has seven short family videos–A kidney for his daughter!; ***Alliance for Health Policy is new name of Alliance for Health Reform;

5. THE STORYBOARD: *** “When Are Doctors Too Old to Practice?” by Lucette Lagnado, Wall Street Journal; *** “Aging Parents, Immigrants and the Caregiving Cliff,” by Carolyn Rosenblatt, Forbes; *** “Death Goes Public” series by JoAnn Mar on “End Of Life Radio” series from San Francisco’s KALW public radio broadcasts fifth story, “Let’s Talk about Death over a Nice Meal.”



*** Reporters Coming to the World Congress of Gerontology & Geriatrics in San Francisco, July 23-27, are invited to the Journalists Meet-Up and Reception that Tuesday evening, July 25. We’ll gather in the pressroom at the Marriott Marquis Hotel downtown in Nob Hill C, starting at 5 p.m. by circling up some chairs and going around the room with brief intros so you can see who else is there and get the scope for what issues people are covering. We’ll have wine and light nibbles. Then we’ll continue the conversation a richer spread of edibles rolled out by our hosts from the Gerontological Society of America (GSA).

For this conference, journalists can apply online for a press badge. GSA is serving as the United States host for the World Congress – the quadrennial meeting of the International Association of Gerontology and Geriatrics, which only comes to the United States every 32 years. On hand will be about 6,000 experts and professionals in aging, including those from throughout the U.S. and 75 countries.

GSA will be posting a searchable conference program soon, such as by topic or speaker. Those interested in that link should contact Paul Kleyman (, or Todd Kluss,



 *** “The Senate Leadership’s Health Bill Is a Big Tax Cut, Especially for The Top One Percent,” from the Tax Policy Center (TPC): It shows that 45% of Mitch McConnell’s “Better” than the House version’s saving would go to the top 1% of U.S. taxpayers—“those making $875,000 or more.” Is anyone surprised that the Senate Majority Lead put a vote on hold? TPC’s analysis is by journalist and health policy analyst Howard Gleckman, a senior fellow of the center (run jointly by the Urban Institute and Brookings Institution). Gleckman, author of Caring for Our Parents (St. Martin’s Press, 2009), claims a “double life” in studying both tax policy and long-term care issues.

According to TPC, the one-percenters would receive an “average tax cut of more than $45,000, raising their after-tax incomes by 2 percent. And those in the top 0.1 percent (who will be making $5 million or more) would receive an average tax cut of nearly $250,000, boosting their after-tax incomes by 2.5 percent.” The richest get even richer than the rich.

What about the rest of us? Gleckman writes, “Overall effects of the Senate leadership bill would be much like the House measure. The Senate bill would cut annual household taxes by about $670 on average. But the variation among income groups would be very wide. The lowest-income 20 percent of households (that will make about $28,000 or less in 2026) would receive an average tax cut of about $180, or 1 percent of their after-tax income. Middle-income households (that will make $55,000-$93,000) would receive an average tax cut of $280, raising their after-tax incomes by about 0.4 percent.”

Also, the Congressional Budget Office score shows that the Senate’s Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017 would reduce federal deficits by $321 billion over the coming decade, almost triple the amount in the House version ($119 billion). That’s definitely a bunch of tax bucks, except that a friend, who happens to be a retired federal department economist, pointed out that the Senate bill “savings” represents less than six months of military spending. Of course, we need our defense to protect Americans. But how many Americans, again, won’t be protected under the “Better” Senate health bill?

*** How About 29,000 Lives Lost a Year—And not by terrorists? See “The Relationship of Health Insurance and Mortality: Is Lack of Insurance Deadly?” by Steffie Woolhandler, MD, MPH and David U. Himmelstein, MD, Annals of Internal Medicine (June 27): “About 28 million Americans are currently uninsured, and millions more could lose coverage under policy reforms proposed in Congress . . . . In 2002, an Institute of Medicine review concluded that lack of insurance increases mortality, but several relevant studies have appeared since that time. This article summarizes current evidence concerning the relationship of insurance and mortality. The evidence strengthens confidence in the Institute of Medicine’s [IOM] conclusion that health insurance saves lives: The odds of dying among the insured relative to the uninsured is 0.71 to 0.97.”

The researchers, from City University of New York School of Urban Public Health at Hunter College, and Harvard Medical School, have long been among the most meticulous advocates for a single-payer health care system in the United States (and were unpaid advisors to the Bernie Sanders campaign).

The article deep-dives into the pros and cons of studies subsequent to the IOM’s 2002 report, Woolhandler and Himmelstein and show that a substantial body of research now provides convincing evidence that lack of insurance – something people like Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, have argued has little health effect – actually kills people.

Himmelstein told the Los Angeles Times (June 26) that “if the CBO’s forecast of the Senate bill’s effects is correct, an additional 29,000 Americans would die each year as a result.” She added, “Thousands of people are already dying each year” among the millions left without coverage under the Affordable Care, and “the Republican health reform bills would increase that death toll.” (The LAT piece by Melissa Healy offers a detailed examination of study.)

*** And Now a Word from Our History — “GOP Health Bill—How We Got Into This Mess,” by Paul Kleyman, New America Media (Jun 21): Amid the scoreboard coverage of the GOP health bill, historians remind us of how the unique U.S. system became such an insurance-based mess.



*** Kudos to Anna Gorman of Kaiser Health News (KHN) for her National Press Club (NPC) Award announced this Monday. For her five-part series titled, “Diagnosis Unprepared,” NPC will present her it Joseph D. Ryle Award for Excellence in Writing on the Problems of Geriatrics in a ceremony in Washington, D.C., July 28. Gorman’s work is one 15 first-place honors. She will share the podium with such other journalists as the Washington Posts David Fahrenthold for his tracking of Donald Trump’s charitable contributions; the Bloomberg News team that covered the Brexit vote; a KPIX-TV (San Francisco) team, for its “Toxic Safety” package on carcinogenic chemicals in infant car seats; and NPR’s David Folkenflik for his stories on the media, politics and other topics.

Gorman’s “Diagnosis Unprepared” series was an intensive look at the gap in care between a patient’s release from the hospital and return home. Based at KHN’s Los Angeles bureau, she developed the series through the Journalists in Aging Fellows Program of New America Media and the Gerontological Society of America (in cooperation with GBONews) and with support from the Commonwealth Fund.

Here is the winning series with hyperlinks to the original KHN posts and NAM’s cross-posts. Different articles were carried by a wide range of media, such as US News & World Report, CNN, the multicultural Louisiana Weekly and daily newspaper nationwide.

“DIAGNOSIS UNPREPARED: Part 1 — “Elderly Hospital Patients Arrive Sick, Often Leave Disabled,” Kaiser Health News, News Feature, Anna Gorman. Seniors often leave hospitals more disabled than when they arrived. But the nation’s few special ACE units show they can promote health and independence.

Part 2 — “Elderly Hospital Patients Need To Keep Moving,” Despite mounting research showing excessive bed rest can harm seniors, while exercise helps them, many hospitals still don’t put a high priority on making them walk.

Part 3 –“Geriatric ERs Reduce Stress, Medical Risks For Elders,” Increasingly, hospitals are changing the “war zone” clatter of ERs by creating special ones for elderly patients–and cutting costs and hospitalizations.

Part 4 — “‘America’s Other Drug Problem’: Copious Prescriptions For Hospitalized Elders,”  Elderly hospital patients experience 400,000 preventable adverse-drug reactions a year, costing billions, but a new breed of pharmacists is bringing change.

Part 5 — Gaps In Care Persist During Transition From Hospital to Home,” For elders, discharge from hospital to home without help holds risks costing $26 billion annually. New programs showing how to change that.

*** Diane Joy Schmidt Took Top Honors in the All New Mexico Press Women Awards for “Evelyn Rosenberg and Her Explosive Art” along with “Fractured Faiths, Ground-Breaking and Controversial Exhibit.” She also picked up First Place in the Health category for her articles, “Studies on Dementia: Q&A with Dr. Gary Rosenberg” and “Albuquerque, Is It a Place Where Jews Can Retire?” She scribed the stories for New Mexico Jewish Link with support from NAM and GSA’s Journalists in Aging Fellowships with support from the Retirement Research Foundation.

*** Accra, Ghana, is the Destination for Public Radio Reporter Alice Daniel, of the KQED/ “California Report” Fresno bureau. At the end of July she heads for Accra, Ghana, with her husband, a jazz composer. Both received Fulbright awards “to teach and do research there for 10 months and we’re taking our kids. I’m going to try to do some stories on aging there.”

Daniel, who is finishing up her 2017 Journalists in Aging Fellowship project, will teach print and broadcast journalism at the University of Ghana. She added in an e-mail, “I hope to work with students on an oral history of radio broadcast journalists who were present and working during the transition in Ghana to a democratic republic in 1992. Prior to that, from 1982 to 1992, the media lived under a regime in which there was a culture of silence. To be a journalist was dangerous because of the newspaper licensing law, which discouraged the establishment of private media and freedom of the press. The 1992 Constitution ended more than a decade of military dictatorship promulgating greater media freedom. In July 2001, parliament unanimously repealed the Criminal Libel Law. The Media Foundation for West Africa said the law was ‘inimical” to freedom of the press.’”

She continued, “I also want to work with the students on long-form narrative stories, which is where I hope to focus on aging.”

Daniel’s hubby, Ben Boone, she said, is ”a music composition professor at Fresno State and a jazz saxophonist. He’ll be teaching in the music dept. at the University of Ghana. My boys, ages 13 and 15, will be going to the Ghana International School.”

This editor inquired whether Ben might be related to another composer with the same surname. No said, Alice Daniel, but she explained why she sticks with her pre-marital last name: Ben, she wrote, is actually related to frontiersman Daniel (“Remember the Alamo”) Boone – “one reason I didn’t hyphenate our last names!” That would’ve been Alice Daniel-Boone!



*** American Indian Diabetes Prevention Center’s (AIDPC) Digital Stories website now includes seven short (about 5 mins.) videos portraying native peoples’ parents, grandparents and children describing their struggles with diabetes. The center, located at the University of Oklahoma, worked with the International Association for Indigenous Aging (IA Squared), whose executive director, Dave Baldridge, tells the first story on the site about his experience of donating a kidney to his daughter, who was diagnosed with type-one diabetes at age eight.

Others among the first seven stories include that of a Pueblo grandmother who has participated in multiple “Flight for Life” helicopter rescues; the family of a young southern plains diabetic man, who sing Native Gospel songs with him; and the daughter of an adventurous urban Indian family who has undergone two organ transplants.

Baldridge, a former director of the National Indian Council on Aging and community diabetes educator for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, has been an excellent source on aging in Indian Country for many years.

For this intergenerational series, he explained, the families spend two or three days telling their stories to the center’s video team. Each family chooses the images and music, and develops the dialogue for their personal story.  The stories focus on their successes in managing diabetes and the stressors that come with diabetes care within their family setting.

AIDPC Director J. Neil Henderson, PhD, who introduces each video, said in a release, “These videos take us beyond the clinic and into Native homes to vividly show the heroics of Native families coping with diabetes.”

AIDPC produced the stories as part of a National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities and National Institutes of Health project at the university’s college of public health for viewing at Indian Health Service and tribal health clinic waiting rooms.

For information on this or related issues on Native American health, contact Dave Baldridge, Executive Director, IA2,, 505/239-4793; or Neil Henderson, Director, American Indian Diabetes Prevention Center, University of Oklahoma College of Public Health, 405-271-7500.

*** The Alliance for Health Policy is the new name of the bipartisan Alliance for Health Reform. Founded 25 years ago by former U.S. Senator John D. ”Jay” Rockefeller IV, D-WV, and long directed until his retirement a couple of years ago by DC policy wonk, Ed Howard, the Alliance has helped to bridge political movers and shakers from both parties with expertise on health care policy (not so much, though, on the attendant politics). The alliance also has worked extensively to inform journalists, such as through its Sourcebook series, essential references on different government health programs, each provided with a list of key experts across the political spectrum. Currently, the Honorary Chairs are Sens. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., and Ben Cardin, D-Md.

Alliance President and CEO Sarah Dash noted in a statement that the newly rebranded group “will continue to host briefings and retreats for members of Congress and congressional staff, Hill events for the health policy community, briefings for reporters, and webinars for health leaders beyond the Beltway.” The new URL is



*** “When Are Doctors Too Old to Practice?” by Lucette Lagnado, Wall Street Journal (June 26):Testing older physicians for mental and physical ability is growing more common. Nearly a fourth of physicians in America are 65 or older, and 40% of these are actively involved in patient care, according to the American Medical Association. Experts at the AMA have suggested that they be screened lest they pose a risk to patients. An AMA working group is considering guidelines.”

Lagnado continues that patient-safety concerns regarding older physicians’ mental health have prompted institutions, such as Stanford Health Care in Palo Alto, Calif., and the University of Virginia Health System, “to adopt age-related physician policies in recent years . . . to spot problems, in particular signs of cognitive decline or dementia.” And that is “roiling some older doctors and raising questions of fairness, scientific validity—and ageism.” Among those “battling Stanford’s age-based physician policies for the past five years” is Frank Stockdale, 81, a breast-cancer specialist, who refused to take the tests. He and other doctors got an exam for cognitive impairment scrapped.

Stockdale, the story goes on, noted that several physicians among the Stanford dissidents have made major contributions to medicine, such as a pioneer in genetic engineering. More than 50 years ago, oncologist Saul Rosenberg, 89, co-developed the cure for Hodgkin lymphoma, a cancer that had been 100% fatal. Observing that Stanford also has younger physicians “who are alcoholics or drug addicts,” Stockdale questioned why his institution is targeting older doctors.

Ann Weinacker, 66, a professor and former chief of staff at Stanford hospital, who has overseen the implementation of age-related screening there, commented, “none of us is immune to the effects of aging, and as we age.” She pointed to other screening of younger physicians. She added that older physicians who have mild cognitive dysfunction typically don’t realize it, and their colleagues don’t report them.”

But Harvard Medical School health policy researcher, Anupam Jena, 38, told Lagnado that age is a “crude” performance measure and argued hospitals should analyze outcomes of all doctors. Jena attributed poor outcomes to outdated skills, not dementia: “They need to focus on older doctors not because of cognitive impairment but because of their relative lack of familiarity with current treatments.”

In addition, GBO’s editor suggests that although there are legitimate age-related concerns regarding doctors, not all relate to being older. One expert in the WSJ article pointed to possible numbness that may limit an older doctors’ ability to feel a mass in a patient. That’s a fair concern, but there’s been broader issue about more modern medical training, which has tended to deemphasize high-touch practice in favor of high-tech medicine.

What’s more, U.S. medical training has long undervalued geriatric education in our aging society, while overall it has vastly over-stressed specialty care at the expense of primary medical care. Even more fundamentally, in this critical week in U.S. health care policy, is the need for journalists to keep in mind that health outcomes for this country overall fall well down the list among of other advanced economies. U.S. Medicine falls short in essential ways.

Lagnad0’s article casts light on an important issue and, and she shows how good reporting can put adopted solutions to their own test: What factors are being missed? What other research might expose flaws in a remedy’s validity, perhaps suggesting adjustments or alternatives? As hospital systems increase their scrutiny of health care staff based on age, it’s critical that administrators not merely default to a knee-jerk gimmick, such as “take away their keys” legislative proposals for older drivers. Those have been proposed over the years in some areas, thus ignoring actual risks and effective solutions.

*** “Aging Parents, Immigrants and the Caregiving Cliff,” by Carolyn Rosenblatt, Forbes (March 7): Rosenblatt, a nurse, writes, “Families have traditionally filled the role. But at, we see families scattered across the country and even across the world. We see a shortage of family to do the tasks of tending to the needs of aging loved ones. Even when family provides primary caregiving to an elder, there often remains a need for supplemental, paid help. Look around you at any nursing home, assisted living facility, adult day service or home care agency and you will see many direct workers who have come to the U.S. as immigrants. Most are women. Many take the caregiving jobs because there is a shortage of workers. . . The pay is low and the status is low. Many of the part time jobs do not offer the worker any protections nor benefits of employment such as health insurance.”

She goes on, “Reducing immigration from those who intend no harm but who are happy to take the jobs others eschew will devastate the population of caregivers, already in short supply. This comes at the exact time when an increase in these low skilled workers is desperately needed. There are complaints from every care agency I know of that they are having trouble finding enough caregivers. That is dangerous to our elders.”

(Thanks to Judy Graham’s Navigating Aging blog for posting this.)

*** “Death Goes Public” is the latest report in JoAnn Mar’s ongoing “End Of Life Radio” series from KALW public radio in San Francisco. Mar explains, “For most of the last century, death has been a taboo topic—a subject that was avoided and not publicly discussed. The deafening silence around death is starting to change now.” KALW aired the fifth piece, “Let’s Talk about Death over a Nice Meal,” June 27: “during the last five years, a movement to break the silence has been growing. Death cafés and death over dinner events have attracted thousands of people around the world. These are group conversations about death held in discussion circles or around the dinner table—often with total strangers.”


If you have technical problems receiving issues of GBO News or if you’d like to be removed from the list, simply auto-reply to this e-mail of GBONews, or phone me at 415-821-2801,  (e-mail:

The Journalists Network on Generations (JNG), founded in 1993, publishes Generations Beat Online. JNG provides information and networking opportunities for journalists covering generational issues, but not those representing services, products or lobbying agendas. Copyright 2017, JNG. For more information contact GBONews Editor Paul Kleyman.

To subscribe of unsubscribe, or if you have technical problems receiving issues of GBO or if you’d like to be removed from the list, e-mail me at, or phone me at 415-821-2801. GBONews thanks Sandy Close of New America Media, and our cyber-guru, Kevin Chan.



  • TruthWriter

    Part 2 link is broken…

  • Pingback: Maria Smith