County Board of Supervisors, 9 a.m. First and third Mondays, courthouse.
City Council: Regular meeting, second Wednesday, 7 p.m.; Committee of the Whole, fourth Wednesday, 6:30 p.m.
St. Joseph’s Court 25¢ Community Bingo, Last Monday of the month.
Blue Valley Community Action Advisory Board Meeting, 416 E St., 4th Tuesday, 2:30 p.m. at Store. Public welcome.
Community Coffee, Rolls, Free, 9:30 a.m., david place, first Wednesday.
Santa House, 5-6:30 p.m. Thursdays, Dec. 21, Hruska Library. Kids visit with Santa, enjoy a treat and a craft. BC Chamber Ambassadors.
David City area farmers were recently told that hog fat is vital for winning the World War by its use in the production of munitions. O.E. Mickey of Osceola, who spoke here for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, said each farmer in the county is expected to not only add 25 pounds to each animal, but also to increase swine production.
To comply with a request to economize on light and fuel during the war, 10 merchants in Rising City have agreed to close their places of business at 8 p.m. each day, except Sunday, until Jan. 1. They will then close at 7 p.m. from January to March.
With the rationing of oil, gas and other everyday essentials now in effect, the rationing offices in the Butler County Courthouse are the busiest places in town. All rationing board members, secretaries and as many volunteers as can be obtained are unable to keep up with the rush of work.
John Fricke, druggist in Rising City the past few years, has disposed of his business and is preparing to leaving the community. He will go to Washington, D.C., to spend the holidays with his wife, who has a position with the FBI.
The construction of a new hard-surfaced road connecting Linwood with Highway 15 promises to be of interest to the Nebraska State Historical Society. There are two known Pawnee Indian villages buried in the path of the new road. An agreement has been reached for the Historical Society to do archeological excavations in the area where the road is constructed.
Several old movie films are being donated to the Butler County Historical Society from the estate of the late Dr. J.M. McNally of Bellwood. McNally was one of the early users of a movie camera in this area. Included among the film topics are the 1930 and 1931 Butler County Fair.
The Bellwood Public School proposal was approved Tuesday, with 250 voting in favor and 88 against. The proposal calls for the construction of a library, computer room, music rooms and offices. The original school building was constructed in 1964, with the last addition made in 1970.
A two-month composting program sponsored by the Butler County Recycling Association was a success. In October the city lent its trucks to haul grass clippings and leaves to Dan Hilger’s farm northwest of David City. During November county trucks were used.
An Omaha man who proposes to build a facility to rehabilitate pit bulls rescued from dogfighting says he has purchased 30 acres of land in Butler County, southeast of Loma. Meanwhile, the county attorney has sent him a letter explaining that the county is in the process of framing a comprehensive plan and zoning regulations, and he will have to comply with these regulations in the future.
On Saturday, the region’s first winter storm of the season knocked out power for about 85 percent of the Butler Public Power District’s territory. Most of the outages occurred between 7 a.m. and 3 p.m. when the combination of rain and freezing temperatures rolled through the area.
City crews are starting to chip away at the growing number of nuisance properties that have drawn the focus of the City Council the past year or so. On Tuesday city workers began to remove overgrown hedges and trees at 5th and G Streets, where a house has sat vacant for several years.
A fire in the early morning hours of Friday destroyed a workshop at an acreage southwest of David City. The David City Volunteer Fire Department was paged to the residence of Don Saalfeld, at 2:51 a.m. The shop was a total loss and damage was estimated at $75,000.
Compiled by Jim Reisdorff, historian for the Butler County Historical Society
Brandon and Katie (Borgmann) Kresha of David City are the parents of new baby girl, Kara Ava Kresha, born October 30, 2017 at St. Elizabeth CHI Health in Lincoln. She weighed eight pounds, 14 ounces. Her sister is Kayla Kresha.
Grandparents are Dan and Becky Kresha, Theresa Borgmann of Ulysses and the late Bob Borgmann. Great-grandparents are Mary Lou Codr of Seward, Carol Kresha, Osceola and Lillian Urbanovsky of Ulysses.
Butler County Senior Services
All ages welcome. Cost for 59 and under is $4.50 and Suggested cost for 60 and up is $3.50. For reservations, call 402-367-6131 before 9 a.m.
Dec. 25 - Closed for Christmas
Dec. 26 - Hamburger gravy, mashed potatoes, cauliflower, plums, salad bar. – Quilting & Tai Chi, Van to Lincoln, 6 p.m. Supper & Pitch
Dec. 27 - Soup & Sandwich HDM: Chicken noodle, chicken salad sandwich, strawberries/bananas. 9:30 a.m. – Frogs; Quilting & Cards
Dec. 28 - Ham, macaroni n cheese, broccoli, jello cake, salad bar. 9:30 a.m. Quilting and Tai Chi, Van to Columbus, Beltone 2-4 p.m.
Dec. 29 - Swiss Steak, hash browns, stewed tomatoes, apricots. Quilting and FROGS. 1 p.m. – Pinochle
Polk County Senior Services
Dec. 25 - Closed for Christmas
Dec. 26 - Potluck. Exercise.
Dec. 27 -BBQ chicken, steak fries, corn, apricots. Woodcarving 1-3 p.m.
Dec. 28 - Chili soup, celery sticks, dinner roll, peaches. Exercise.
Dec. 29 - Breakfast casserole, tomato juice, blueberry muffins. Bingo.
The Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP) distribution clinic will be held in David City at 416 E Street on Thursday, December 17, 2017. An appointment is suggested. Clients picking up commodities are to use the alley entrance.
CSFP provides nutritious foods to seniors who are age 60 or greater who live in Nebraska and are under the program income guidelines.
Foods given through CSFP include canned fruits and vegetables; bottled juice;1 percent liquid and non-fat dry milk; hot and cold cereals; canned meat; peanut butter and dried beans; cheese; pasta or rice.
To schedule an appointment or obtain information on how to qualify for CSFP, please call Blue Valley Community Action at 402-729-2278 or 402-367-4347.
Memorials and Honor Gifts to Aquinas & St. Mary’s Schools
Aquinas & St. Mary’s Endowment Fund:
In memory of:
Marlene Benes from: Doug and Nancy Vrbka, Jason and Tori Lavicky
Bob Litjen from: Sharon Reisdorff, John and Fran Pachta, John and Deb Svec, Larry and Loretta Houlton, Diane Moravec, Dan L Engel, Jean Hicks, Mark and Jeanne Ingwersen, Doug and Nancy Vrbka, Max and Sue Birkel, Chad and Kim Lyons, Don and Rosa Lee Stara,
Guardian Angel Fund:
In memory of:
Jim Kobza and John Kirby from: Mary Lou Romshek,
Joe Kozisek from: Don and Judy Dworak
Mary Lou Coufal from: Don and Judy Dworak
Kenneth Pohl from: Don and Judy Dworak
Marlene Veik from: John and Fran Pachta
Alice Stangl from: Mary Pat Romshek,
Marilyn Gruntorad from: Mel and Kay Cihal
Bob Litjen from: Butch and Jeanne Hain
One of the benefits of the Affordable Care Act to Medicare beneficiaries has been the gradual closing of a big and costly gap called the “doughnut hole” in the prescription drug (Medicare Part D) program. By the end of 2020—if the ACA is not repealed or altered substantially by Congress—the doughnut hole will be completely closed.
In 2010, people hit the doughnut hole coverage gap when the total amount they and their plan had paid for prescription drugs reached $2,800 in a coverage year. At that point, people had to pay the full cost of their prescription drugs until they had reached the out-of-pocket spending limit established by the law. In 2010 that limit was $4,550. After someone paid that much, their plan paid 95 percent of the cost of their drugs for the rest of the year.
The gap has been shrinking a little every year since the ACA (Obamacare) was enacted in 2010. This year, those enrolled in the Part D program personally paid 40 percent of the cost of brand-name drugs in the doughnut hole and 51 percent of the cost of generic drugs. Next year, the percentages will drop to 35 percent and 44 percent, respectively. In 2020 and beyond, Medicare Part D beneficiaries will pay 25 percent for both brand-names and generics.
While that’s good news, the amount of money Part D enrollees have to pay out of their own pockets before their coverage kicks in has been going up every year. In 2010, people with Part D paid 100 percent of their drug costs until they had spent $310. In 2018, they’ll have to pay until their costs reach $405.
Despite that, Part D beneficiaries next year will get more coverage after they meet their deductibles and before they reach the doughnut hole: at the point that the individual and his or her plan has spent $3,750.
Yes, it’s complicated, but that’s because of the way the Part D program, which went into effect in 2006, was established. The doughnut hole was ostensibly created to save the government money, but it quickly became the program’s most unpopular feature—along with the often-bewildering choice of plan options.
During the first year of the program, the standard Part D plan paid 75 percent of the prescription drug costs until the beneficiary’s drug costs reached $2,250. The beneficiary was then on the hook for all their drug costs until they had spent $5,100 for a total of $2,850 out of pocket. In 2018, that amount will drop to $1,250.
The not-so-good news is that the because the law that established the Part D program did not set a hard cap on total out-of-pocket spending—and does not allow Medicare to negotiate with drug companies for lower costs—an increasing number of Medicare beneficiaries are now facing higher out-of-pocket costs overall than in years past.
After Part D enrollees get past the doughnut hole, they automatically get what is called “catastrophic coverage.” Their plan will then pay at least 95 percent of the cost of their drugs. But for the growing number of people on high-cost medications, that remaining 5 percent can add up to a substantial sum.
A recent study by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that in 2015, 3.6 million Medicare Part D enrollees incurred that substantial sum. While most of them received low-income subsidies to help cover the costs, 1 million of them did not. Those enrollees spent on average more than $3,000 out of pocket on their prescriptions in 2015; one in 10 spent at least $5,200.
The reason for the spike in out-of-pocket spending: the eye-popping cost of drugs for conditions such as hepatitis C, multiple sclerosis, leukemia and HIV/AIDS.
While those high drug prices have hit beneficiaries the hardest, they have also been very costly to the federal government—meaning, of course, taxpayers. A January report by the U.S. Office of Inspector General found that federal payments for catastrophic coverage exceeded $33 billion in 2015—more than triple the amount paid in 2010.
The OIG warned that if policymakers did not address high drug prices, the Part D program could be at risk: “The dramatic growth in federal payments for catastrophic coverage and the underlying issue of high drug prices must be analyzed and addressed to secure the future of the Part D program,” the report concluded.
Among the OIG’s solutions: Allow Medicare to negotiate prices for certain drugs. That has been proposed numerous times since the Part D program was created and has had bipartisan support. It has never become law, however, because the pharmaceutical industry, one of the most influential in Washington, has been able to block it.
Wendell Potter is an author, former corporate executive and founder of Tarbell.org, a new journalism nonprofit.
Potter was a reporter in his first career and covered business and politics in Tennessee before joining Scripps-Howard’s Washington bureau. He had a longer career as head of corporate communications for Humana and Cigna.
Since leaving his corporate job, he has written three books: Deadly Spin: An Insurance Company Insider Speaks Out on How Corporate PR Is Killing Health Care and Deceiving Americans (a New York Times bestseller and winner of the Ridenhour Book Prize in 2011); Obamacare: What’s in It for Me/What Everyone Needs to Know about the Affordable Care Act; and Nation on the Take: How Big Money Corrupts Our Democracy and What We Can Do About It (published by Bloomsbury USA in 2016).