Health

Healthy Aging Month and a Day to Remember

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This month has been designated as Healthy Aging month, but today is also the day we remember those who perished on 9/11. There are only a few days in our lives when something happens that is of such magnitude that we remember for the rest of our lives where we were when we heard about, or witnessed, the monumental event. I remember where I was when I heard President Kennedy was assassinated, I remember where I was when the first man stepped onto the moon, and I remember where I was when I saw the first terrible pictures of 9/11. A few years earlier I had worked with some of the employees of the Marsh LLC insurance company who lost their lives on that day. Many people had personal reasons for remembering that day. It is only fitting that we should pause to remember them and to recommit to the job of protecting ourselves from these horrible terrorist attacks.

On a more uplifting note, keeping ourselves healthy is an important way that we can continue to do the things we enjoy as we age. I’ve found that when I commit to myself to doing something to increase my health, it’s easier to break that commitment to myself than it is when I do it for someone else. I think of being their when my wife needs me, or my children or grandchildren need me, or the joy I get when I am able to do things with them – and I just get more committed to my goal. So, if you need a reason to stay healthy, do it for them.

There are a great many resources that are available to help you get healthy and stay healthy. The Department of Homeland Security has some excellent and concise guidelines for their employees to maintain their health as they grow old. They recommend four simple things:

  • Eat and Drink Healthy.
  • Move More, Sit Less.
  • Get Regular Checkups.
  • Be Aware of Changes in Brain Health.

You can click here to get more detail on each of the four recommendations.

On a personal note, I’m embarrassed to say that I have often neglected going to the doctor for check-ups or to investigate different maladies that have popped up. I decided that I really wanted to stay healthy for the people I love,and I’m on a much better trajectory to get healthier. I’ve even committed to starting some core exercises to help my balance and my overall health. Another trick to keeping your commitment is to get someone to exercise with you. You won’t want to let them down when you have scheduled a time when you both will exercise. My son got me interested in doing planks for increasing core strength and then I saw this article on doing wall squats, a plank exercise. When I saw it might even help your blood pressure, it sold it for me. I’m going to start the exercises… it might even help my golf game.

I hope you recommit to healthy aging, if not for yourself, for those you love.

Best, Thair

P.S. Meeting Update – While the schedules didn’t work out for me to visit directly with Blake Moore, my representative in the House, I did get to talk with a Legislative Assistant (LA) in the Washington office. The Congressman was traveling (summer recess, after all, is the chance  lawmakers have to vacation with their families), so the next best option is speaking with the LA who covers healthcare issues for the Congressman. I do want to point out that around 80% of my lobbying visits over the years has been with LAs, legislative directors or the chief of staff rather than with the member of Congress. This LA, Nick Wooldridge, knew his stuff.

As you might imagine, most of my questions focused on the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), and I started out by asking how his boss viewed the “negotiation” part of the bill. He said that this part of the IRA didn’t seem like it accomplished the goal they were looking for. He was especially concerned about the impact on restricting research on how orphan drugs for a rare disease might be helpful against other diseases. He recognized that research into a drug’s second indication benefits patients. I thought this was an astute and knowledgeable reaction to a very real impact of the IRA. He did voice his approval of the out-of-pocket cap for Part D, while also voicing his concern for the overall impact of the IRA on our Nation’s debt. He had a wait and see approach to the results of the lawsuits that have been brought against the IRA. He was against the Senate bill, the SMART Act, that would double down on the number of drugs subjected to the price fixing negotiations. I asked him about his boss’ stance on the proposed bills dealing with prescription benefit managers (PBMs). (Some background, there are two sides to how PBMs are viewed, on the one hand they are touted as the ones that negotiate with drug manufacturers for insurance companies to obtain lower prices, on the other hand, some see them as a costly part of the business process that is driven by non-cost saving incentives.) The Congressman had a remarkably interesting stance on these proposed bills. He is cautious about focusing on just one part of the business process, the PBMs, when we should evaluate the whole process and strive to make it all more efficient.

I appreciated Nick taking the time to talk with me, and I was excited to hear about Congressman Moore’s selection to be on the Budget Committee Health Care Task Force. I also am looking forward to a possible meeting with the Congressman in October. I certainly see Congressman Moore as a friend of older Americans and their access to affordable and excellent healthcare.

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