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July 25, 2003 - Image 20

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2003-07-25

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Capitol Connection





Jewish voters called on to take stands.

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Tell Your Legislator



Washington, D. C
oth the U.S. Senate and
House passed bills that would
add a prescription benefit to
Medicare, the federal health
insurance program for the elderly and
people with disabilities.
While the two bills differ on some
details, a key difference is a provision
in the House bill that traditional fee-
for-service Medicare would have to
compete with private managed care
plans starting in 2010. The result
would likely be private plans offering
more benefits than the government,
but with higher cost to seniors.
Healthier and wealthier seniors may
choose to pay more for more-generous
benefits, with poor and sick seniors
remaining in traditional Medicare,
jeopardizing support for this important
government program.
The Jewish Community Council of
Metropolitan Detroit asks members of
the Jewish community to contact their
representatives and senators to urge
them not to jeopardize traditional
Medicare and to oppose the premium
support provision in the House
Medicare bill. that requires competition
between traditional Medicare and pri-
vate plans.
A growing concern in the U.S. —
and particularly in the Jewish commu-
nity — is senior transportation. The
Transportation Equity Act for the 21st
Century (TEA-21) pays for a host of
transportation needs, including senior
Community members are urged to
ask our legislators to increase FTA
5310 funding, which is the section of
TEA-21 that deals with senior trans-
portation. The cost of increasing senior
transportation funding — allowing
seniors to age in place — is far less
than the cost of nursing homes or
other institutions and would have tan-
gible benefits for seniors throughout
the United States, including Detroit's
Jewish community.




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As chairman of the House
Appropriations Committee, Rep. Marc
Shulman, R-West Bloomfield, has been
working on the state's 2003-2004 fiscal
year budget. The primary areas of dis-
agreement between the Republican

majority Legislature and the
Democratic governor continue to be
charter schools, merit scholarships and
Michigan Department of
Transportation road projects.
Rep. Shulman recently introduced
House Resolution 77, which would
demonstrate strong Michigan support
for Israel. The resolution would
encourage promoting and enhancing
economic relationships between the
state and Israel. The resolution has
been referred to the House Standing
Committee on Great Lakes and
Tourism for a hearing.
As a member of the House
Appropriations Committee, Rep.
Shelly Goodman Taub, R-Bloomfield
Hills, is working to get the budget
passed. The House and Senate have
begun their Conference Committee
work and look to find common
ground with the governor. The House
will then come back as needed this
summer until the budgets are finished.
Sen. Gilda Jacobs, D-Huntington
Woods, recently appeared on the
National Democratic Leadership
Council's 100 New Democrats to
Watch: The Next Generation in
Leadership. Sen. Jacob's bill, designed
to protect consumers from cemetery
scams, passed the House and will soon
be signed into law by the governor.
The new law will clearly define how a
cemetery must use monies secured in
endowment care funds.
Rep. Steve Tobocman, D-Detroit,
was recently named Public Service
Attorney of the Year by the American
Bar Association's Business Law Section.
He previously was the founder and
executive director of Community Legal
Resources, a Detroit-based organiza-
tion that matches nonprofit organiza-
tions serving low-income areas with
top-quality legal representation.
Rep. Andy Meisner, D-Ferndale, will
begin hosting Mondays with Meisner,
local office hours for his constituents,
rotating the meetings between Berkley,
Ferndale, Huntington Woods, Oak
Park and Pleasant Ridge 11:30 a.m.-
1 : 30 p.m. Mondays.

— Compiled by Eric Adleman, Jewish
Community Council of Metropolitan
Detroit, and Susan Herman, director,
Michigan Jewish Conference

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