National Council on Aging (NCOA) Raises Alarm about Trump Plan to Penalize Immigrants Using Public Programs

On September 22, the Trump Administration issued a proposed rule change regarding immigration policy that would expand the number of public programs taken into consideration in determining whether a immigrant is a “public charge” who would be dependent on public funding.    The public charge determination would negatively impact whether an immigrant should be admitted to the United States or given permanent residence with green cards.

The National Council on Aging (NCOA)  and other aging advocates have raised concerns not only about the impact on older immigrants using public benefits but also about the 1 in 4 direct care workers who are immigrants in health and service professions taking care of seniors and the disabled.  Advocates worry that immigrants will forego needed benefits in order to preserve chances for a green card.

NCOA said, “If the rule is finalized in its proposed form, this would mark a significant and harmful departure from the current policy. For over a hundred years, the government has recognized that work supports like health care and nutrition help families thrive and remain productive. And decades ago, the government clarified that immigrant families can seek health and nutrition benetits without fearing that doing so will harm their immigration case. If this rule is finalized, we can no longer offer that assurance. Benefits that could be considered in a “public charge” determination targets key programs that help participants meet their basic needs, such as: •

Non-emergency Medicaid (with limited exceptions for certain disability services related to education).

• Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

• Low Income Subsidy for prescription drug costs under Medicare Part D;

Section 8 Housing vouchers

Apple’s Newest Watch Takes Heart EKG

The consumer technology giant Apple continues to move into the health field.  It has a health app on the IPHONE that can be used to track patients records and data.  Its Apple Watch has a fitness tracking function.   Its newest watch produces an Electrocardiagram or EKG which is normally done in the doctor’s office with up to 12 electrodes  attached to various areas of your body.  The Apple Watch EKG has the approval of the Food and Drug Administration and uses electrodes on the watch to take the test.  The test will either give results showing your heart beats are normal or that you have atrial fibrillation and should see a doctor.

Of course the Apple Watch is quite expensive at over $300.  It does many other things, serving as a watch and a phone and can get email.  The EKG function is just the beginning of what are expected to be  many other innovations that will allow persons to monitor their health including blood sugar and heart rates.   Other screenings may be possible in the future for individuals to check  for artery disease and other conditions which they then can report to a doctor.

A note of disclosure:  my son Joseph works for Apple in California so I keep a close eye on what the company is doing, particularly in the health care field.