The Community Service Society just published an alarming report detailing hospitals’ widespread failure to comply with a charity care law that went into effect in 2007. The law addressed the need for financial assistance to reduce the hospital bills of low-income New Yorkers who are uninsured or underinsured. According to The New York Times:
“The entire system is corrupted, and it isn’t working for patients,” said Elisabeth R. Benjamin, vice president of health initiatives at the Community Service Society of New York, a nonprofit antipoverty group, which is releasing the two-year study on Monday.
With the growing shortage of affordable housing—for both renters and homeowners—there has never been a more important time to understand your rights and how current housing laws apply to you. There is not enough space to address all the pertinent facts, rights, and obligations so this newsletter covers the issues which come up most often in my District Office. You should be aware, however, that there are exceptions to many of the regulations and programs outlined here.
Many of my constituents have chosen to hire full time nannies or other domestic workers for their families. Some people are unaware, however, that when they hire domestic workers, they become employers, subject to the same rules and regulations of the Federal and New York State governments as any other employer and business. These regulations can be incredibly complex and are difficult to navigate even for a professional accountant.
We are a less than a week away from the 10 year anniversary of the attacks of September 11, 2001, and just over a week past Hurricane Irene. Each had a very different and complex cause; both left us with the immediate need to rebuild our communities. Both also highlight the importance of interdependence as a fundamental strength of our democratic society. In other words, none of us “do it all by ourselves;” we survive through our inter-relationships and our dependence on institutions. When the basic safety and infrastructure of local communities is damaged, we must rely on others to help us rebuild. It really does “take a village.”
Once again our leaders in Washington are fighting over cuts to the deficit, while our economy teeters on the brink of a "double dip" recession. At the federal, state, and local levels, the focus is on cutting programs rather than increasing revenues. But what many of these leaders have chosen to ignore is the fact that this strategy will have radical macro and micro economic and political consequences for decades to come.
Every year, starting around Thanksgiving going through New Year’s Day, many of us re-visit the age old questions of thinking about how things have gone during the last year. Have we accomplished our personal goals? Where are we compared to a year ago? What are we thankful for? What will be our resolutions for the New Year? And what is our shared responsibility for improving our community and the lives of others?
A Note About Arizona: We were all shocked and saddened by the violent rampage targeted against a Congresswoman, her staff and other bystanders earlier this month. Much that is right and wrong has already been written about who, beyond the deranged gunman, bears any level of responsibility for this tragedy. The one thing that really weighs on my mind is: why does it remain so easy for the wrong people to get guns and munitions in this country? What if the same man in the same situation only had the use of his fists?
Living Wills and the appointment of a person who can function as your health care proxy are important decisions we all should make related to how we wish to be treated as our life ends. These decisions are not just considerations for the frail and elderly, but choices to be made when we are alert and willing to evaluate our views on end- of- life care. Discussions with close family and friends is a good way to have opinions known, but will have greater relevance if they are also supported by a living will and a health care proxy.