January 01, 2013

And Now: The New World of Health Care

I want to begin my first “Leading Remarks” column in Experience magazine during my term as chair by thanking Bruce Alan Mann for his excellent leadership in planning and leading us through last year; Malinda Allen as one of the primary “doers” deserving of recognition for leading the Publications Committee last year after Francis J. Larkin, our former chair, encountered very serious health problems. She, along with Lisa V. Comforty, our new but very experienced staff editor, brought us back on schedule. We are fortunate that Francis’s health has returned and that he will even be able to be the guest editor for an issue on veterans this coming year.

With this issue, we find ourselves in Part II of our now four-part special series on elder law led by guest editor Walter Burke, our recent SLD chair from Albany, New York, who has done, and will continue doing, a fantastic job for our readers. You can read his wonderful “Prologue” on the preceding pages.

Given the times and the importance of the topic, we received many more quality articles on health care than we expected for Part II. We had extended the deadline for this issue until after the election in order to see whether the winner would be the candidate who promised to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) on his first day in office or whether President Obama would be re-elected to implement it. There was so much misinformation about this law during the recent election, and we felt it was important to await the outcome. Because so many authors rose to the task of analyzing the new world of health care post-ACA, we are privileged to be able to expand our series to include another issue on healthcare topics. Parts II and III, therefore, will both address healthcare subjects. Part IV, which will come out in the fall, will focus on “Financial and Life Planning.”

This current issue, Part II, focuses on the new ACA and its implications for the elderly. It also addresses other critical healthcare topics for older people, such as how lawyers can best advise their clients about advance directives and how lawyers may help clients plan for health insurance if they remain employed after age 65.

The authors of each of these articles have done an admirable job helping senior lawyers and young lawyers who practice elder law. Among these authors are two physicians, Dr. Peter DeGolia, of Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, and Dr. Daniel Brauner, of the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine. Their thoughtful articles add enormously to our understanding of healthcare issues for the elderly.

I want to conclude this column by recognizing the excellent staff we have under the leadership of Judith Legg, judith.legg@americanbar.org: Angela Boykin, angela.boykin@americanbar.org, Patricia Allen, patricia.allen@americanbar.org, and Betheon Whyte, betheon.whyte@americanbar.org. If any of you ever need assistance, contact one of them. I am confident that they will be able to help you.

Please send your suggestions for topics you would like to read about or articles you’d like to write to Malinda C. Allen, mcallenlaw@aol.com; Lisa Comforty, lisa.comforty@americanbar.org; or me, judgeeds@gmail.com.