Rx from page 25
Another 15 percent live in households
that earn between $15,000 and
People on Medicaid will have to
begin paying a small co-payment, and
poor Jews who do not apply for
Medicaid may have to deplete their
assets to receive increased benefits,
"The low income portions of the
bill are better than we feared, but
nowhere near as good as we hoped,"
Harvey Tillipman, executive direc-
tor of the Association of Jewish Aging
Services of North America, said por-
tions of the legislation outside of the
prescription drug provisions could aid
Jewish nursing home programs, which
are essential for dealing with an influx
of aging Jews who can't necessarily
rely on family for help.
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"There are pieces in that bill that are
very important, not only to Jewish
homes but other homes as well,"
That includes the restoration of fed-
eral funds for physical therapy pro-
grams in nursing homes, which had
been cut in recent years.
"I don't think it's a bill that will
hurt Jewish nursing homes or resi-
dents," Tillipman said. "It's a mod-
icum of help, but it's a question of
how much help it will be."
Jewish groups say they're beginning
to educate their membership about
the new law and are working with
other advocacy groups to mobilize an
effort to repeal portions of it.
"People are wrestling with it," said
Shelley Klein, director of advocacy for
Hadassah. "They want to know more
about it, and they are disappointed."
Advocates say several factors could
help them make changes to the law,
including the fact that 2004 is a presi-
dential election year and that a lot of
the law's provisions don't take effect
But there is concern that some law-
makers will decline to reopen the
Medicare issue so soon after a long
fight on Capitol Hill produced this
Bert Goldberg, president and CEO
of the Association of Jewish Family
and Children's Agencies, said his
organization will analyze the law and
try to advise seniors how to take
advantage of its options. "We now at
least have something that deals with
drugs for seniors, and we've never had
that," he said. "That's at least some-
thing to be pleased about." 111