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Unbelievable, we'll look at how we might update the story. If you'd like to talk with a reporter about it, please e-mail me or call me with your contact information.
Pilot, we appreciate your longtime participation on our site even though you live in Houston. Please let me clarify, though, that print remains viable despite the opportunities of the digital age. The Advocate reaches 90 percent of the people in Victoria County and 70 percent in a nine-county region. No other local medium comes even remotely close. You're clearly aware of the high-profile problems of metro papers in Houston and elsewhere. We're hoping the progress we've made with our Web site will allow us to meet those challenges head-on, if and when they reach the Crossroads region. Most prognosticators, though, say community papers with a majority of unique local content will continue to do much better than big metros.
I know you can't get the print edition in Houston, but stop by and pick one up if you happen to be in town. I feel confident you wouldn't cringe at the money spent for it. If you don't find all of the content I described and more to be well worth $1.25, I'll gladly give you a refund. Let me know if I can help you get your hands on this outstanding edition.
Alton, glad to hear you buy the paper when you have the time to read. We'll try to make it better every day so that you make the time in your day. We know time is our biggest competition. We're all so busy these days.
I agree with your point about newspapers' marketing efforts. I've often contended that we as an industry have done a poor job of stating our value proposition. A newspaper is the best deal you'll find anywhere. Just read the funnies and do the crossword, and you've gotten your money's worth. If you happen to learn something, you've about paid for a year's subscription.
I agree the paper is worth the cost, especially if you are a nosy person like myself. I am one of those people, who prefers to purchase the paper when I have time to read it. When I had a subscription, often I had a pile of unread papers pile up until I give in knowing I never will read them and throw them away.
Mr Cobler, This is still an important issue because it is still in effect. Many people do not about this until it's too late. My doctors didn't even know it existed. I'm sure that the Medicare Right Group can get you updated info however, the project that was trying to get before Congress has past. Hopefully, they will try again and it will get corrected. I know people take advantage of the system but there are those that truely need help and can't get it. I do hope that you take an interest and talk to people that have been affected. I kind of got the impression that this story was beneath Gabe or maybe wasn't important and that's sad. I know you must get hundreds of ideas for stories and some are probably not so newsworthy but something that touches people across the United States is important and deserves a good look at. And I hope to hear from you regarding this story.
Thanks for the link. I don't recall the story from April 2007, but I'll talk with Gabe. He's no longer on the health beat, but we'll see whether there's a current angle for the story. If you have any suggestions, let us know. We've written several stories about people with disabilities, but we have by no means covered fully the important issue.
Sorry but I didn't keep the excuses.
----- Original Message ----- From: Deane Beebe To: TDelaney@VICAD.COM Sent: Wednesday, April 11, 2007 10:02 AMSubject: New report includes Victoria, Texas resident: Americans with Disabilities Suffer without Health Care and Incur Debt During Two-Year Wait for Medicare Coverage, Report Finds
I hope you will cover this issue. One of the participants in the project is from Victoria, TX. See the USA TODAY article that was published today; it includes her story and her photo. Please call if you need anything.http://www.usatoday.com/money/industr...
Deane Beebe, Public Affairs DirectorMedicare Rights Center520 Eighth Avenue, 3rd FloorNew York, NY 10018212-204-6219www.medicarerights.org
Medicare Rights Center NEWS FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Deane Beebe April 11, 2007 Public Affairs Director 212-204-6219 Americans with Disabilities Suffer without Health Care and Incur Debt During Two-Year Wait for Medicare Coverage, Report Finds-- Dozens of Patient Advocacy Groups Call on Congress to Eliminate Two-Year Medicare Waiting Period Restriction -- [New York, NY] Some 600,000 Americans with severe and debilitating disabilities are uninsured and go without health care or into debt while waiting the required two years for their Medicare coverage to begin, according to a report released today by the Medicare Rights Center. “Congress must eliminate the cruel and arbitrary two-year wait for Medicare which punishes Americans who are hit by severe illness or injuries that make it impossible to keep working,” said Robert M. Hayes, president of the Medicare Rights Center, a national consumer service organization. “This report chronicles the devastating health and financial toll that the waiting period takes on the lives of hard-working Americans who are stranded without health coverage after they become disabled,” said Mr. Hayes, an author of the report published by The Commonwealth Fund. People who are deemed disabled by the Social Security Administration due to incapacitating health problems rendering them unable to work are not eligible for Medicare until 24 months after they receive their first Social Security Disability Income benefit. Nearly seven million people under age 65 qualify for Medicare because they have severe and permanent disabilities. About 1.5 million Americans are in the Medicare waiting period. Twelve percent of people in the Medicare waiting period die each year while waiting for their coverage to begin. In “Too Sick to Work, Too Soon for Medicare: The Human Cost of the Two-Year Medicare Waiting Period for Americans with Disabilities,” 21 people with disabilities share their experiences while waiting for Medicare after leaving work due to a variety of reasons including cancer, chronic cardiac conditions, a car accident and debilitating injuries. These real-life stories illustrate how people with disabilities waiting for Medicare struggle to pay for health care. Some pay premiums for COBRA coverage but soon find the premiums unaffordable on disability income. Others qualify for Medicaid coverage initially but lose eligibility when their disability income begins (five months after being deemed disabled by the Social Security Administration). Other people interviewed spend their savings to pay for private health insurance but quickly discover that the premiums are unaffordable or private insurers will not cover someone with a pre-existing condition. During the year-long interviewing process some of the “Too Soon to Work, Too Soon for Medicare” project participants finally get Medicare and express tremendous relief that they will at last have coverage and be able to see health care providers of their choice. Others never live to get their Medicare coverage. Analyses have shown providing men and women with Medicare at the time that Social Security certifies them as disabled would cost $8.7 billion annually. This cost would be partially offset by $4.3 billion in reduced Medicaid spending by Medicaid, which many individuals get for some time during the waiting period. In a letter sent to Congress today, patient advocates including the United Cerebral Palsy, National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Easter Seals and Paralyzed Veterans of America join the Medicare Rights Center in calling for Congress to eliminate the Medicare waiting period (letter below). The two-year waiting period was originally established in 1972 when Medicare was extended to people with disabilities. Today there are two exceptions: people who are disabled due to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) or end-stage renal disease. “Too Sick to Work, Too Soon for Medicare: The Human Cost of the Two-Year Medicare Waiting Period for Americans with Disabilities,” was made possible with support from The Commonwealth Fund and is available online at the Medicare Rights Center at http://www.medicarerights.org/Too_Sic.... - end- Medicare Rights Center, a New York City based not-for profit organization, is the nation’s largest independent source of health care information and assistance for people with Medicare. Founded in 1989, MRC helps older adults and people with disabilities get high-quality, affordable health care. 520 Eighth Avenue, New York, NY 10018 212-869-3850 www.medicarerights.org Medicare Rights Center April 11, 2007 Honorable Max BaucusChairman Committee on FinanceU.S. SenateWashington, DC 20510 Honorable Chuck GrassleyRanking MemberCommittee on FinanceU.S. SenateWashington, DC 20510 Honorable John D. Rockefeller, IV ChairmanSubcommittee on Health CareU.S. Senate Committee on FinanceWashington, DC 20510 Honorable Orrin G. HatchRanking MemberSubcommittee on Health CareU.S. Senate Committee on FinanceWashington, DC 20510 Dear Senators: The rising cost of health insurance and the increasing ranks of the uninsured are among the top domestic priorities for the 110th Congress. The undersigned organizations work to ensure access to health care for people with disabilities, individuals who are extremely vulnerable to the loss of coverage under our current, fractured health care system. As Congress addresses America’s health care crisis, we urge you to place a high priority on closing the gap in coverage that affects a group of Americans most in need of guaranteed access to health care—people with severe disabilities who are waiting to become eligible for Medicare coverage. In 1972, Congress extended Medicare coverage to individuals determined by the Social Security Administration (SSA) to have a disability that prevents gainful employment. Since then, Medicare has provided access to health care for millions of people with disabilities, allowing them to access the health care they need to lead lives as healthfully as possible. In extending Medicare coverage, however, Congress mandated a two-year waiting period for Medicare coverage from the date of eligibility for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits. Over the decades, the rising cost of private insurance coverage has put COBRA coverage out of reach for Americans living on Social Security Disability Insurance. In addition, many people who qualify for disability income become ineligible for Medicaid, especially with budget pressures forcing states to restrict eligibility criteria. The waiting period has forced people with severe disabilities to endure two years during which treatment and care of their condition are put at risk. There are an estimated 1.5 million Americans with disabilities stuck in the waiting period for Medicare. Between one quarter and 40 percent of these individuals do not have health coverage. The two-year Medicare waiting period affects more than those individuals who are now struggling to survive until their Medicare coverage begins. Every American is at risk of a severely disabling illness or accident. For individuals with progressive illnesses that all but guarantee that they will one day have to file for disability, this built-in gap in coverage is a virtual certainty. We urge you to take action in this Congress to eliminate the two-year Medicare waiting period for people with disabilities. After being deemed disabled by SSA, Americans with disabilities should receive Medicare coverage as soon as they begin receiving Social Security Disability Insurance benefits. ACCESS-DSPA AllianceAlzheimer’s AssociationAmerican Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD)American Council of the BlindAmerican Dance Therapy AssociationAmerican Medical Rehabilitation Providers AssociationAmerican Network of Community Options and ResourcesThe ArcArthritis FoundationAssociation of Assistive Technology Act Programs (ATAP)Bazelon Center for Mental Health LawBrain Injury Association of AmericaCenter for Medicare Advocacy, Inc.Coalition for Pulmonary FibrosisCystic Fibrosis FoundationEaster SealsEpilepsy FoundationFamilies USALupus Foundation of AmericaMedicare Rights CenterMental Health AmericaNational Association of State Directors of Special EducationNational Council for Community Behavioral HealthcareNational Disability Rights NetworkNational Down Syndrome SocietyNational Multiple Sclerosis SocietyNational Respite CoalitionNISHParalyzed Veterans of AmericaRehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology Society of North America (RESNA)RESULTSTitle II Community AIDS National Network (TIICANN)United Cerebral PalsyUnited Spinal Association cc: Honorable Harry ReidMajority LeaderU.S. Senate Honorable Nancy PelosiSpeaker of the HouseU.S. House of Representatives Honorable Charles B. RangelChairman House Committee on Ways and Means Honorable Jim McCreryRanking MemberHouse Committee on Ways and Means Honorable Pete StarkChairmanSubcommittee on HealthHouse Committee on Ways and Means Honorable Dave CampRanking MemberSubcommittee on HealthHouse Committee on Ways and Means
Thanks, Mary Ann, for the support. Poppy, I'll try to limit the crowing. I was particularly proud of today's edition, but I understand how my comments could come across as self-serving.
Unbelievable, if you can tell me more about the story from two years ago, I might be able to respond better. My direct phone number is 361-574-1271. Gabe is a standout journalist, but we all have to set priorities. All good journalists have more stories to do than they have time. That's the nature of the business.
In terms of online matching the print version, we're trying to make them distinct and equally strong. We're working on an update of the site that I hope will address your concerns. Our new sports editor also has pledged to devote more attention to online.
And I agree we have a lot work on. Every day.
What I'd like to know is how come the online version doesn't always match the printed version? And how come all the sports is under nation or region? Sports is sports. I agree you have some good reporters but you also have reporters who don't write articles that are pretty much given to them and are more newsworthy than some of the stuff he writes about. An article was written in USAToday about one of your citizens and a healthcare issue and Gabe snobbed his nose at it or wait, he's still working on it 2 years later. You pass up stories that could actually impact or help someone. Yes, you have good points but there are a lot of points that need work on.
I disagree, ppoppy. I'm a proud parent, and when my kids do well, I crow a little bit, as it builds my kids' confidence and lets them know how much they're appreciated.This is a mid-size family-owned newspaper, and I can see how Mr. Cobler is proud of his reporters and how they are growing professionally. Also, the Advocate has won numerous awards recently, and it wasn't the editor directly telling us about how great his reporters were. The journalists won fair and square.I can't complain about good news.
Enough shameless self promotion, if the Advocate were truly a great paper then the editor would not have had to write the article.