Letters In the Know ;
Denying Medicare treatment?
House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, asserts in “Republican
Plan for Medicare” [July-August, Opinion] that, under the Affordable Care Act, there will be “a panel of 15 unelected bureaucrats whose job it is to deny care to save money.” This is a blatant misrepresentation of the act’s provisions.
The panel is to be composed not of bureaucrats but of, among
others, doctors, drugmakers, insurers, health experts and repre-
sentatives of consumers and older people. The panel will be
charged with examining the relative health outcomes, clinical effectiveness and appro-
priateness of different medical treatments. Medicare does not have to accept its recom-
mendations, and the panel has no decision-making capability about what shall be
covered, and therefore cannot deny treatment to anyone. Ron Bewley, Weaverville, N.C.
AARP is a powerful organization
that can cause politicians to run
scared regarding Medicare and Social
Security [“A Call to Protect Medicare
and Social Security,” Your AARP].
AARP also has the power to scare its
members by taking an uncompromising position of “no change!” Both of
these power plays are counterproductive and will hurt future seniors.
AARP has the unique opportunity
to be part of the solution, a solution
that will save both programs so that
future members will have significant
benefits, if not the exact same ben-
Continued on page 38
WHAT I REALLY KNOW
M y 9/11 canvas contains
the gray of smoke and ashes, the
red of flames and blood, and the
black of death and despair. Yet
because of where I was on that
Tuesday, my canvas also resonates with the yellow of hope.
When news of the first attacks
came, I was engaged in a “
Replace the Blahs with the Hurrahs”
creative writing assignment with
my sixth-graders in a suburban
Detroit middle school. Not only
did events quickly change my lesson plan, but they also altered the
dynamics within the classroom.
As my students watched the tragedy unfolding on the television
screen, they began rearranging
their chairs in ways that dissolved
the boundaries different cliques
By Ronna L. Edelstein, Pittsburgh
Soon, the extroverts were listening to the more reserved students;
empathy and an awareness of
a shared human experience became more important than academic and social status. I noticed
especially that my Caucasian
students were reaching out to
the Chaldeans, Asians and other
minorities in a more sensitive and
positive way than I’d seen before.
Later in the day, my eighth-graders entered the classroom.
Ironically, my plan was to introduce
to them the novel To Kill a Mockingbird—Harper Lee’s book that
teaches it is a sin to hurt or kill the
innocent. I followed through with
the lesson and then sat back as
my students animatedly discussed
the relevance of this book to the
events of the day. I saw learning
take place—a recognition of the
role that books play in life and an
understanding that what happens
in school does have meaning beyond the walls of the classroom.
That day ended when Jacob, one
of the nicest, kindest eighth-grade
boys I have ever taught, shyly ap-
proached my desk. “Today is my
birthday,” he whispered. I thought
about that, about how hard it
must be to want to celebrate a
special occasion on such a sad
day, and then I looked Jacob in the
eyes and said, “Happy birthday, Ja-
cob. You bring joy to an otherwise
unhappy day; you show that we
cannot forget our blessings, even
when the world looks so dark.”
And that is what I remember of
September 11—students coming
together, a book coming to life,
and one young man ensuring that
beauty will survive, even on a day
as dark as that.
; YOUR TURN!
Tell us what you really know
about reading Email your essay
of up to 400 words to whatiknow@aarp
.org. Or mail it to “What I Really Know,”
AARP Bulletin, 601 E St. NW, Washington,
DC 20049. Please include your name and
a phone number or email address.