The Vermillion Rotary Club reconvened on Jan. 9 at the Al Neuharth Center on The University of South Dakota campus. President-elect, the Rev. David Hussey, called the meeting to order at noon and the Rev. Mercy Hobbs offered a blessing. Able song leaders Joe Edelen and Jack Noble led the group through rousing versions of two songs, including Auld Lang Syne. Among the announcements, it was noted that there will be a Community Garden meeting on Jan. 24 at the Vermillion Public Library and that Rotary members are encouraged to attend and become involved.
The Rotary Club was joined by high school seniors Amanda Yockey and Sarah McCann, both of whom introduced themselves to the group and discussed their involvement at Vermillion High School and in the community. Sergeant-at-Arms Al Pravicek followed with a well-wish to those who celebrated December birthdays or who will celebrate a birthday in January.
Program Chair Barry Vickrey introduced Ms. Jacy Fry, who offered the club a presentation about USD's study abroad programs and her role in coordinating student interest in international academic and cultural experiences. Her role as a half-time director in the Center for Academic Engagement is to connect students with a study abroad experience that is catered to his or her individual interest. USD currently has formal agreements with 11 international universities, many of which are located in Western Europe. Students registering for these programs pay tuition at the normal tuition rate and are eligible to maintain their financial aid packages. If the 11 formal programs USD has available do not fit the student's interest, Ms. Fry workes to find programs that will fulfill the student's academic needs. Specifically mentioned in this context were programs in Arabic or Chinese. The USD program sent 41 students abroad last year and continues to build its relationships with international universities and with companies that assist students in pursuing international experiences. The presentation concluded with a lively question-and-answer period.
Acting Club President David Hussey led the group in the final song and the meeting concluded at 12:55 p.m.
Myers speaks on health care law
The Vermillion Rotary Club held its first meeting of 2007 on Tuesday, Jan. 16 at the Neuharth Center on the campus of USD. President Roger Kozak chaired the meeting and Rev. Robert Grossmann offered the invocation. Guests were introduced by their hosts.
Dean Mike Keller from the School of Business introduced the speaker for the day, Professor Michael Myers. Professor Myers has taught at the USD School of Law, served as a health care lawyer, a hospital executive in Sioux City and as CEO for Mayo-St. Mary's Hospital and Fairview Riverside Medical Center in Minneapolis. Since returning to USD he has had a joint appointment between the School of Law, where he teaches elder law and health care law and the School of Business where he teaches health law, health finance and health economics. He also broadcasts a weekly radio program over WNAX, Yankton, and KDSJ, Deadwood, and writes a weekly newspaper column that is distributed to rural newspapers in 21 states.
His topic today is "The Ownership Society and Threats to the Family Nest Egg." He began with an illustration concerning Gov. Rounds and the ads concerning long-term care insurance. He stated that the greatest threat to the family nest egg is a health event in the future and the need for long-term care.
He pointed out that the typical Rotarian is somewhat well off, thrifty and a planner. On the other hand the typical Rotarian may be somewhat over-weight, have a greater body mass index, and higher blood pressure than average and have higher than average heart disease. Generally Rotarians dislike paying lawyers to organize their finances to take these things into account in future planning.
Medicare and Medicaid were started in 1964 as part of the Great Society planning. The idea was that if you worked hard all your life then future medical problems should not use up all you assets. This was the Democratic thinking under Lyndon Johnson.
The current thinking in Congress under Republican control is that we need to reduce spending in some areas. Consequently the deficit reduction enacted a year ago reduced the funds for health care under Medicare and Medicaid. A person has to have reduced or given away most of ones income five years before entering a nursing home instead of three years previously. Public policy is somewhat uneven when it comes to disease. If a person needs acute care such as radiation therapy then insurance will cover the costs to some degree. However if long-term care is needed, you are on your own.
What should we do? Buy long-term care insurance. However, many cannot purchase such insurance because of existing chronic illness or because of being too old. Some have solved this by giving away assets. In some cases couples have divorced to alleviate responsibility for long-term care.
Professor Myers then took questions from the audience.