Legislators on right course with in-home care
Too often in a General Assembly, big hot-button issues grab the headlines. But one important issue has made few headlines while it quietly made its way through the 2012 legislative session.
Today, 19,000 or more citizens are still on waiting lists for in-home services delivered by the Department of Aging and Independent Living and Area Agencies on Aging.
At the start of the session, it looked like another round of budget cuts would doom any hope of relief for those mostly aging and disabled people. But that changed last week.
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Members of the Senate passed their version of the next state budget as the House had previously done. The good news for the 19,000 vulnerable Kentuckians is that even in a tough budget cycle, $10 million is directed to DAIL services in both budget versions.
These in-home services range from home-delivered meals to personal-care attendants helping people live independently, out of nursing homes and off state Medicaid.
This week lawmakers from the House and Senate began debating a final budget version. They have only until Thursday night to agree. If passed, it means DAIL will be able to deliver more services and begin to reduce the waiting list for the 19,000 vulnerable Kentuckians.
It may not make big headlines, but it can make a big difference in the lives of so many waiting and vulnerable Kentuckians. It's time to end the wait.
Those of us who are concerned about our fellow senior citizens are pleased that Kentucky's General Assembly took an extraordinary step to help 19,000 Kentuckians who are on the waiting lists of the Department for Aging and Independent Living.
We are very appreciative for the work our legislators have done to make these steps possible.
When House and Senate members come together this week to hammer out a final version, we ask that they continue to make DAIL funding a non-negotiable budget item.
Kentucky is making progress for seniors who, after a lifetime of work, deserve to be a priority in the final budget.
Legalize industrial hemp
Regarding fracking, Time magazine recently broke the news that the Sierra Club had accepted $25 million over a three-year period from Chesapeake Energy, one of the largest gas-drillers in the world.
Sierra Club's position is "to wean ourselves from natural gas as swiftly as possible no later than 2050." That statement should be the ultimate definition of an oxymoron. I'd bet $25 million it was a condition of Chesapeake Energy — in other words, 38 more years to rape, profit and pillage.
I attended a recent Kentucky Hemp Coalition seminar. The U.S. government outlawing industrial hemp in 1937 at the behest of the paper, chemical and oil industries was a crime against humanity.
What is the Sierra Club's position on hemp, a carbon-neutral, renewable energy source?
State Sen. Joey Pendelton reiterated if only 6 percent of America's farmland were planted in hemp we would never import another drop of foreign oil. It's non-narcotic, will create jobs, makes biodegradable plastic, car parts stronger than steel, clothes, paper, paints, food and fuel.
Hemp grows in rough terrain and requires no herbicides or pesticides. It can be harvested with conventional farm equipment and processed in Kentucky factories that are sitting empty after corporations like Fruit of the Loom outsourced jobs.
So let's all rally in D.C. for industrial hemp, House Bill 1831. Or better yet, let's quit asking daddy and the special interests it represents for permission, and pass Kentucky House Bill 286 and just grow it.
The city's bumbling
I am a retired Lexington-Fayette government employee. My co-pay for my asthma medication was $20 per month. Now it is $825 per month.
I have read that our police and fire pension is under-funded. During the Scotty Baesler administration the LFUCG stopped paying its share into the pension.
This practice continued until we went to court three times and won. LFUCG still owes many millions of dollars to the pension. No wonder it is under-funded.
The mayor wants to assign this problem to a committee. Everyone who has dealt with a bureaucracy knows a committee is the kiss of death and a delaying tactic.
The LFUCG charter calls for intervention by the state legislature when situations like this occur. I hope it will do the right thing and bring the LFUCG into compliance.
The LFUCG has a long history of "fiddling while Rome burns." They never take care of basics first. The first re-do of downtown failed and now LFUCG wants $300 million to make 40 acres of downtown into an art gallery. I suggest the mayor spend a few evenings with a cop on foot patrol downtown to see the lack of police protection before inviting the art world and tourists to stroll around. Basics first, and keep the promises to employees.
Another example of LFUCG neglect is the stormwater and sewage problems that resulted in EPA fines and mandated compliance. I wonder if the plan for a pretty downtown includes a plan for sewage.
If not Obamacare, what?
As the legal challenge to "Obamacare" is heard in the Supreme Court, we see many articles about the arguments. Most of us are unable to understand these granular issues. The real crux of this law is whether or not we as a society want people to be able to have health insurance.
I think many people who oppose this law think our system is working because they have health insurance. The primary problem this act is designed to address is what to do about people who either cannot afford health insurance on their own or cannot obtain health insurance because insurance companies refuse to cover them. Without going into the intricacies of how health insurance markets work, it is not possible to solve these problems unless government itself provides insurance or we require all people to buy insurance.
I wish opponents of this law would ask themselves what they would do and how they would feel if they were unable to obtain health insurance.
Let's be reasonable
My favorite part of the paper is the editorial page, particularly the letters to the editor. I think the paper does a pretty good job of presenting both sides of the issues.
But upon occasion, it prints a spate of remarkably inane letters of idiotic reasoning and stupidity.
I realize these poor folks hang themselves with their own ill-chosen words and fumbling logic.
But it seems debate would be enhanced if the paper went on the premise that everyone is not entitled to their own opinion, but rather their own informed opinion.
Surely, outraged screeds incapable of composing arguments with any reasoned logic are a waste of ink and space.
I'm sure the paper can find letter writers who intelligently argue both sides of the issue rather than giving morons the faint aura of legitimacy by printing their knee-jerk, vehement stupidity.
Too much of that volatile, illogical emotionalism already clutters up the airwaves.