According to a new study, many seniors on Medicare spend all of their assets covering healthcare costs during the last five years of their lives. Among seniors living alone, the figures were even higher.
These charts (via Wonkblog) show the results of a project by Dr. Amy S. Kelly, a professor at Mt. Sinai School of Medicine in New York. Using information from the Health and Retirement Study, Dr. Kelley took a look at medical costs paid out-of-pocket by seniors nearing the end of their lives. She found that, even with over $500 billion dollars going to Medicare each year, the average senior spends $38,688 during the last five years of their lives. Over 20 percent spend more than $50,000.
Those tales you’ve heard — of teacher layoffs, over-crowded classrooms, cancelled art programs and students having to provide their own toilet paper — may be even worse this year, with per-student spending down from last year in 26 states. These new cuts come on top of steep reductions made in the past few years.
Earlier this month, Amazon.com posted a “heat map” that tracks the political books Americans are buying on their site. It’s updated daily. They say the map is a “novel way” to track political conversation in the run-up to November’s election.
Did you know that Mitt Romney is almost 20 times as wealthy as Barack Obama? Or that the five richest members of the Senate are all Democrats? This infographic, which compares the net worth* of the presidential candidates, members of Congress and the general public makes it hard to believe anyone in Washington who says he’s one of us.
Demonstrators hold signs at an NAACP-organized rally on the steps of the Pennsylvania Capitol in Harrisburg, Pa., to protest the state's new voter identification law. Democrats say it's an election year stunt to steal the White House. Republicans say it's necessary to prevent voting fraud. (AP Photo/Marc Levy)
In our recent interview with Keesha Gaskins and Michael Waldman of the Brennan Center for Justice, Bill highlighted new election laws that keep the young, elderly, minorities and the poor from voting.
Key to this disenfranchisement is a nationwide surge in voter ID laws. Since 2005 — when the Indiana and Georgia state legislatures passed strict photo ID requirements for voters, some thirty states have passed voter ID laws, many based on model legislation drafted in 2009 by ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council (we’ll have more coverage on ALEC in a few weeks).
You’ve probably heard about the ongoing investigation of global banks and the manipulation of Libor, the critical interest rate that banks use as a benchmark to borrow money from each other and to set rates on virtually all commercial loans, credit cards, mortgages, etc. Maybe you heard about it from The New York Times or Bloomberg News, or even here at BillMoyers.com.
Two places we’re sure you didn’t hear about it are ABC’s World News and NBC’s Nightly News, because they haven’t covered it — at all. According to Media Matters for America, the two networks ignored the scandal that The Financial Times‘s Chris Giles writes has “the power to make the heads of commercial banks quake in their boots.” MORE
Ever wondered how many veterans there are in the United States? Or maybe which cities have the most veterans living in them? Well, we’re glad you asked because the U.S. Census infographics department has been hard at work making the data they collect more digestible to the general public. And as TIME’s Battlefield blogger Mark Thompson notes — you’ve already paid for the information — so why not learn something from it? MORE
Earlier this month, the Bureau of Labor Statistics released their June unemployment numbers for veterans. The report includes the breakdown for one closely watched group: Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans (“Gulf II-era veterans”). And while the numbers are still worse than the national average, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs blog reports that the rate for this group fell “more than three full percentage points to 9.5 percent.”
While much remains to be done, since January 2012, post-9/11 Veterans have experienced the lowest unemployment rate in any combined six-month period since 2008 — with the rate reaching single digits in four of the last six months. Additionally, the trend over the past 30 months — since January 2010 — remains downward for America’s most recent Veterans.
Month-to-month unemployment rate figures for this demographic are fairly volatile, but the long-term trend has shown a consistent decline over this two and a half-year period — a strong sign of recovery following the worst economic disaster since The Great Depression.
Suicide is surging as a cause of death among American military service people, with nearly one suicide a day in the first half of this year, according to Pentagon statistics reported by the Associated Press. That’s more than the number of soldiers killed in action in Afghanistan in the same time period. Suicide rates for members of the military used to be lower than the general public, but the number has been rising since the beginning of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Jackie Garrick, the director of the Pentagon’s newly established Defense Suicide Prevention Office, said in an interview with The Huffington Post that this year’s suicide numbers are “troubling.”
“We are very concerned at this point that we are seeing a high number of suicides at a point in time where we were expecting to see a lower number of suicides,” she said, adding that the weak U.S. economy may be confounding preventive efforts even as the pace of military deployments eases.
Author and veteran Karl Marlantes, who will appear in conversation with Bill on Moyers & Company this weekend, blames the repeated tours of duty in today’s wars. During the Vietnam War, service was limited to about a year, he says “so that they know when it’s over.” Today, members of our all-volunteer army are serving longer than almost any time in our nation’s history.
In the lead up to our interview with Marlantes, we’ll be featuring a chart of the day related to the military and veterans. Check back here for more.
• The United States has the highest gun ownership rate in the world — an average of 88 per 100 people. That puts it first in the world for gun ownership — and even the number two country, Yemen, has significantly fewer – 54.8 per 100 people • But the U.S. does not have the worst firearm murder rate — that prize belongs to Honduras, El Salvador and Jamaica. In fact, the U.S. is number 28, with a rate of 2.97 per 100,000 people • Puerto Rico tops the world’s table for firearms murders as a percentage of all homicides — 94.8%. It’s followed by Sierra Leone in Africa and Saint Kitts and Nevis in the Caribbean