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How is the ECONOMY affecting your holiday season? Survey says ...

see page 4A

Thursday, December 24, 2009 n s erving the community since 1908 n Join the conversation at ColumbiaMissourian.com n 50 cents

Health bill
Spreading would advance
the disability care
cheer High premiums,
independent living
care and pre-existing
High premiums
Of the 300 million total
Americans, nearly 176 million
— or 58 percent of the popula-
tion — are covered by employ-
conditions would be er insurance, according to U.S.
among the affected. Census Bureau data. Noriega
By Sananda Sahoo couldn’t go that route. After
she sold her two restaurants,
news@ColumbiaMissourian.com
Noriega said she couldn’t find
In 1997, DeAnna Noriega work through an employer
owned and operated two res- because of her disability.
taurants in Columbia. As a “It’s very hard to get
self-employed small-business employed because the employ-
owner, she could buy cover- er and other employees (in
age for her husband and chil- that pool) have to pay higher
dren — but not for herself premiums,” she said.
— through her business.
Employer-sponsored health
Childhood glaucoma had insurance premiums have
rendered her partially blind, nearly doubled since 2000, a
and insurance companies rate three times faster than
refused to cover her with this the rise of wages,
“pre-existing condi- according to the
tion,” Noriega said. Kaiser Family Foun-
She didn’t need “I didn’t have dation. In 2008, the
surgery; relatively
inexpensive eye
a huge out- average premium
for a family plan
drops did the trick. of-pocket purchased through
“I didn’t have a
huge out-of-pocket
(expense), an employer was
$12,680, nearly the
(expense), but no but no annual earnings of a
company would full-time minimum-
insure me,” she company wage job.
said. would insure But going to the
Noriega’s situa- “individual” mar-
tion — not an unusu- me.” ket is not attractive
al one — might be DeAnna Noriega either, as individual
resolved if either of Suffers from glaucoma premiums are often
the House or Senate higher than employ-
health care reform er’s premiums.
TOP: Headlights of a passing car illuminate the lawn of Sharon Emery’s yard as the car slowly drives past the bills prevail. Both have pro- Noriega now works as the
intricate Christmas light display on Saturday. Emery’s late husband, Bob, created all the displays by hand. posed to end private insurers’ legislative liaison officer at
BOTTOM: A forest of trees dance to Christmas music as part of the Tenny-Brittian Christmas display on Sunday practice of excluding people Services for Independent Liv-
on West Boulevard. with pre-existing conditions. ing, a nonprofit organization
Health care reform propos- in Columbia that is required
Families use Christmas light displays to spark holiday spirits als also seek to prevent insur- by law to employ disabled
ance companies from placing people. At least 51 percent of
Photos and story by Elisa Day annual or lifetime caps on cov- its staff has to be people with
determination, Bill “We’re very care-
news@ColumbiaMissourian.com Tenny-Brittian caught Slide show ful,” Bill Tenny-Brit-
erage.
Coverage will be extended
disabilities.
The health insurance mar-
Some people string up Christmas the holiday spirit, and tian said. “We try to be
lights as a holiday tradition. Some do their Christmas dis- For an audio slide show tasteful. I want a dis- to essential medical equip- ket can be a tough place to
play has become more of various Christmas dis- play that makes people ment, such as wheelchairs and negotiate. But it’s especially
it to compete with their neighbors.
ornate over the years. plays in Columbia, go to smile and inspires augmentative communication difficult for people with dis-
For two families in Columbia, their
ColumbiaMissourian.com them.” devices, as well as prosthetics abilities with pre-existing
lighting displays mean much more. At their home on
One of the benefits and orthotics for skeletal or conditions and sometimes
For Bill and Kris Tenny-Brittian, West Boulevard
of their work is helping muscular deformities. expensive health needs.
an elaborate Christmas display between Worley and
Ash streets, they have built a display others catch the Christmas spirit. The Senate bill also seeks to “It is difficult for people
evolved from an argument.
with Mr. and Mrs. Claus, Rudolph “As we’ve become more elaborate, establish a Community First with insurance, who have
“Nineteen years ago he was a
and Santa, a slew of penguins in neighbors and people nearby have Choice option, which will coverage through employers
Grinch,” Kris Tenny-Brittian said encourage states to supply such as governments and uni-
scarves and a forest of dancing increased their decorating,” Bill
about her husband. “There were no Tenny-Brittian said. “In fact, we Medicaid home- and commu- versities, to comprehend the
lights. He did not like Christmas, trees.
had a neighbor come to us this year nity-based attendant services. difficulty of getting health
and we fought our whole first Christ- Still, the couple remains con- wanting us to see their decorations.” All of these proposals have insurance,” said Tim Harlan,
mas together.” cerned about making it something
huge implications for people former Missouri representa-
With his wife’s prompting and people enjoy. Please see Lights, page 6A with disabilities, caregivers tive and attorney with Harlan,
and insurance companies. Harlan and Still in Columbia.
Please see disability, page 6A

More hugs, Health reform stands on brink of Senate passage


fewer bugs The final vote is
set for about dawn
third time in as many days
Democrats have posted a
supermajority needed to
history,” said Majority Leader
Harry Reid of Nevada, who
painstakingly pieced together
billion over the next 10 years,
an estimate that assumes law-
makers carry through on hun-
which liberals favored to
apply pressure on private
insurers but Democratic mod-

for holidays today. By DAVID ESPO


advance the legislation. Final
passage, set for about dawn
today, was a certainty and will
the bill — and the now-con-
troversial deals with wavering
lawmakers that made its pas-
dreds of billions of dollars in
planned cuts to insurance com-
panies and doctors, hospitals
erates opposed as an unwar-
ranted federal intrusion into
the health care system.
Prevnar, a children’s The Associated Press clear the way for talks with the sage possible. and others who treat Medicare In an interview with PBS,
vaccine, could be a WASHINGTON — Demo- House on a final compromise. The measure would extend patients. Obama signaled he will sign a
crats pushed sweeping health Those negotiations likely will coverage to an estimated 31 Obama has also said he wants bill even if it lacks the provi-
major preventative care legislation to the brink stretch into February. million who lack it, while ban- legislation that slows the rate sion.
to spreading germs of Senate passage Wednesday, The Senate has met for 24 ning the insurance industry of growth in medical spending “Would I like one of those
crushing a year-end Republi- consecutive days to debate the from denying benefits or nationwide, but the CBO said options to be the public
to older adults. can filibuster against Presi- legislation, the second-longest charging higher premiums on it has not determined whether option? Yes. Do I think that
By ALICIA CHANG dent Barack Obama’s call to such stretch in history, and the basis of pre-existing medi- that is the case with the bill. it makes sense, as some have
The Associated Press remake the nation’s health Democrats held a celebratory cal conditions. The Congressio- Unlike the House, the Sen- argued, that, without the pub-
LOS ANGELES — Holi- care system. press conference. nal Budget Office predicts the ate measure omits a govern- lic option, we dump all these
day visits have become safer The 60-39 vote marked the “We stand on the doorstep of bill will reduce deficits by $130 ment-run insurance option, Please see Bill, page 4A
for grandparents thanks to
a childhood vaccine that has

Holiday information
dramatically curbed infec-
tions spread by children, a Today’s weather
new study finds. Today: Occasional rain. Temp: 51°
For years, serious bacte-
rial infections spiked among Closures Light it up Wet weather to continue for holidays Tonight: Occasional rain before 9 p.m.,
changing to rain and snow before midnight.
older adults around Christ- Many businesses are clos- LED Christmas lights The heavy rain that hit Colum- tem continues to pass to the
Temp: 21° Page 2A
mas and New Year’s, presum- ing early today, and others provide a safer way to bia Wednesday likely will con- southeast of central Missouri.
ably because of contact with are closed on Christmas decorate for the holidays. tinue into Thursday.
germy children. Research- Day. For a list, go to Go to page 6A for an However, Benjamin Sipprell, a
Boone, Osage, Moniteau and
Callaway counties also have
MU defeats Illinois
ers report that only one such
ColumbiaMissourian.com information graphic that meteorologist for the National been placed on a flood watch. The Missouri men’s basketball team
spike has occurred since
2000: when the vaccine Pre- shows how. Weather Service in St. Louis, defeated Illinois 81-68. It was Missouri’s
Freezing rain or snow may also
vnar entered the market. said the storm is on a path first win against Illinois in a decade.
be possible later on, starting
The vaccine is advised for that would spare Columbia Page 1B
Thursday night into Friday
children under 2. It fights from the heaviest rains Thurs- Our 102nd year/#73
common types of strep bacte-
ria that cause illnesses rang-
day.
As for a white Christmas, Sip-
prell said the Weather Service
Index 2 sections
16 pages
ing from mild ear infections The rain has caused some is forecasting upward of an Calendar 2A
to severe pneumonia and minor flooding in Cole County. inch and a maximum of 2 Classified 5B
meningitis. inches of snowfall on Christ- Life Stories 8A
The vaccine has done “a ter- Sipprell said the flooding
wasn’t severe and shouldn’t get mas Day. Opinion 5A
rific job of preventing trans-
Please see germs, page 4A much worse as long as the sys- — Jonathan Arner Sports 1B 6 54051 90850 3
Page 6A — THURSDAY, December 24, 2009 Columbia Missourian

Disability: Bill looks to reduce Medicare spending


CONTINUED from page 1A Harlan left the legislature prove that memory disability notice of a 10 percent funding
Pre-existing conditions in 2002 and now specializes in is disabling,” Moody said. She reduction from the Missouri
Social Security benefits. He had hired Harlan. Department of Transporta-
clause said he still hears complaints But short-term memory tion. Although the cut amounts
One of the proposals in the that a person’s disabilities loss is a disability, she said to $500, Leslie Anderson, pro-
health care reform debate that affect job prospects. because “it is difficult for me gram manager at the organi-
has the potential to affect a “I explain to them that that’s to remember what I did yes- zation, said she realizes fund-
large number of people seek- what the law allows,” he said. terday.” ing reductions are inevitable.
ing insurance coverage is the When Blue Cross Blue The agency receives funds
elimination of pre-existing Shield started in Texas in the Independent living through multiple sources.
conditions exclusions. 1920s, the original intent was Moody lives at home and The money received from
“The pre-existing condi- to spread the risk, he said. hires a personal assistant from MoDOT supports the organiza-
tions clause is very broad, and “With private insurance the Services for Independent tion’s transportation program.
people with extremely minor companies, the intent has Living who helps her buy gro- The Services for Independent
disabilities, such as well-con- evolved into avoiding the ceries and reminds her to pay Living offers 1,200 free rides
trolled diabetes, can be denied risk,” Harlan said. bills and take medicines. She
a month to people with dis-
insurance,” Harlan said. It is also difficult to get prefers to stay at home rath- abilities to help buy groceries,
Insurance companies often covered by Social Security er than move into a nursing go to doctor’s appointments,
don’t want to write policies benefits. In cen- home because
she said she is visit places of worship and DAVID KENNEDY/Missourian
for smokers and sometimes tral Missouri, it attend community events.
charge women more than usually takes a More info able to carry
out most daily People come to know about
Leslie Anderson is a program manager at Services for
Independent Living in Columbia. She has been working
men, Harlan said. person two and its services through medical
“The problem got worse a half years to To read a list of specific activities, such for the agency since 2007 but has been involved with
as cooking and organizations and other out- organizations that provide assistance to people with
as we got accurate ways to receive Social changes if the House or reach efforts.
test health conditions, which Security bene- Senate bill is passed, go to bathing, by her- disabilities since 1993.
More than 100,000 people
means people with no dis- fits, Harlan said. ColumbiaMissourian.com. self and doesn’t lost their services in the state
abilities but with a propensity In some parts of need nursing There will be more funding are usually higher than oth-
home services. when Missouri cut Medicaid cuts. Democrats want cutbacks ers, so they tend to exceed
toward a condition might be the country, the funding in 2005, Anderson
denied coverage,” he said. wait time is twice as much. Organizations in payments to home health their cap easily. If the pro-
said. Medicaid reimburse- agencies that provide nursing posal makes its way into law,
A private company can Mary Moody is a 45-year- such as Services for Indepen-
ment rates from the Consum- care and therapy to Medicare people with disabilities will
decide whether to take on old who has a neurological dis- dent Living help people with
er Directed Services program beneficiaries at their homes. find it a little easier to finance
the health risk of a potential order that gradually increases serious disabilities carry on
partially fund many of the Democrats said they want to medical care.
employee, and the decision weakness in the legs and arms. their daily activities by pro-
agency’s services, including eliminate waste and inefficien-
may depend in part on how big She said she received disabil- viding direct services. Over Public option
ity benefits from the state for the years, however, cutbacks transportation, home modifi- cy in home care services.
the company is. If the compa- cations, such as ramps, and A public option is one of
the disorder right after apply- in state funding for people The health care bill looks to
ny employs several thousand adaptive technology, such as the most important proposals
ing. Later, when a brain injury with disabilities have affected reduce Medicare spending on
people, the costs are spread for people with disabilities in
caused her to have short-term services for assisted living, emergency telephone dialing. home care by $43 billion, or 13
across all the employees. But the health care reform debate,
memory loss, she had to wait Harlan said. “If people with serious dis- percent of the current spend-
if it is a small company with Harlan said.
years to receive disability According to Jim Crane, abilities live in nursing homes, ing, over the next 10 years.
few workers, one higher-risk People in rural counties find
benefits. office manager at Services it not only disrupts their daily The Democrats hope to fund
employee can make a differ- it is hard to get private insur-
“I had to get an attorney for Independent Living, the lives but is also expensive for coverage of uninsured people
ence in the company’s overall ance coverage because it costs
for this, but it was difficult to agency has already received taxpayers,” Harlan said. through the reductions.
costs. companies more, he said.
Prohibition of lifetime Right now it is unclear
caps whether a public option will
The health care reform bill remain in the final bill. “But
also proposes a revision of as a rural state, we should be
private insurance company concerned if a public option is
regulations that will increase not available,” Harlan said.
The tradition of holiday lighting originated centuries ago, but LED lights the number of insured people. Other proposals that could
available today promise improved safety, reduced energy costs as well as It would bar insurance com- affect people with disabilities
panies from placing lifetime are still on the table. Cuts in
overall better illumination. Research and graphics by Kourtney Geers limits or unreasonable annual funding, meanwhile, continue
limits on individual and group to affect organizations such
health plans. as Services for Independent
A BRIEF HISTORY OF HOLIDAY LIGHTING “Once the policy holder Living.
1600s 1882 1901 1920s 1950s 1962 2002 2006 crosses the cap, it is as good as “With each round of cuts,
having no insurance,” Harlan we will have to become more
Christmas Edward Johnson The first The cost of Retailers Nick LED The Capitol said. And for people with dis- creative in seeking funding
trees are hand-wired 80 commercial electric lights market a Holonyak Christmas Christmas abilities, the treatment costs opportunities,” Anderson said.
adorned with red, white and light sets are drops; electricity variety of invents a lighting is first tree is
candles blue bulbs and offered to becomes readily lighting, practical made lighted

Lights: Habitat for


attached wound them businesses for available in experimenting light-emitting available for using only
with wax or around a rotating use in window homes. with bulb shape diode, LED. commercial LED
small pins. evergreen tree. displays. and colors. consumption. lighting.

SPENDING TO SAVE
Although LED holiday lights have a higher purchase price than traditional
Humanity among
benefiting charities
incandescent lights, they quickly pay for themselves through energy
savings. LEDs also have a greater longevity than the traditional options,
lasting an estimated 50,000 to 100,000 hours.

ENERGY COST OF COMPARABLE OPTIONS CONTINUED from page 1A This year, members of the
Lighting for an 8-foot tree for five hours per day for 30 days; Energy cost is calculated at $.0823/kilowatt hour. Adds Kris Tenny-Brittian: Old Wheels Car Club, a group
“The other night, a family to which both Kavanaugh and
$2 $4 $6 $8 $10 was out there with this little Bob Emery belonged, banded
girl dancing in the yard with together to help erect the dis-
LED mini-ice (280 bulbs on four strings, 14 watts) the music. It keeps you going, play to continue Bob Emery’s
and you want to do it more.” dream.
LED C7 (300 bulbs, 24 watts) For Sharon Emery, a holi- “I wasn’t going to put them
day light display on Stirling up,” Sharon Emery said. “I’m
Incandescent premium mini-lights (300 bulbs, 108 watts) Court, off Highland Drive, is so glad now that they forced
about carrying on her hus- me to do it. It’s helping me
Incandescent standard mini-lights (300 bulbs, 144 watts) get through the
band’s legacy.
Bob Emery, holidays. The first
Incandescent C7 (125 bulbs, 750 watts)
who died this “It’s a very couple weeks,
I couldn’t be in
spring, made his
displays by hand. comforting any of the rooms
facing the street.
He included a feeling to be out I hid in my base-
INSIDE THE ILLUMINATION race car in honor
of Carl Edwards, there with the ment to avoid
Light emitting diodes (LEDs) are found in many devices
such as digital clocks, watches and appliances. They
a church with a
swinging bell, lights. I feel like them.” That all
can be collected together to form television screens or
traffic lights. The perks of LEDs are that they are tiny
a gingerbread my husband’s changed when she
started talking to
house and a
energy efficient light bulbs that easily fit into an Nativity scene. with me.” people. Hearing
electrical circuit. After people how much the
Sharon Emery display meant to
began driving Christmas light decorator
HOW LEDs WORK by the house, he Columbia over the
1 Current from the wires passes forward Emitted light decided he want- years changed
direction, from the anode post to the ed to make a difference by her mind.
cathode post, which causes negative raising money for Habitat for “Now I love them all the
electrons and positive holes to move Nearly indestructible Humanity. He set out a dona- more,” Emery said. “It’s a
in opposite directions. colored epoxy casing tion tin can. very comforting feeling to
“His goal was always to be out there with the lights.
2 Free electrons exist at a higher raise enough money to help I feel like my husband’s with
energy level than the holes. This Dome lens Habitat for Humanity build me.”
causes the free electron to lose a house,” said family friend Nightly she collects dona-
energy when it falls into the hole. Kenneth Kavanaugh. tions and greets everyone
The energy emitted takes the
form of a light photon.
Wedge Anode post SAFETY STATISTICS “We chose Habitat for who drives by to see her hus-
wire bond Holiday lights and other decorative lighting Humanity because 90 per- band’s masterpiece. She often
were involved in an estimated average of cent of what we collect stays gives away hugs of gratitude
3 The size of an 170 home structure fires per year from right here in the community,” to those who donate.
electron’s fall Cathode post; 2003 to 2007, according to the National Sharon Emery said. “It’s the “I feel like I’m surrounded
determines its energy reflector cup Fire Protection Association. LEDs, unlike, people of Columbia giving by the love of the commu-
level, which in turn incadescents, reduce the risk of fire since back to Columbia.” nity,” she said.
determines the color the bulbs do not get hot to the touch.
of the photon. A
higher fall produces a Negative HOME STRUCTURE FIRES IGNITED
higher energy level BY DECORATIVE LIGHTS
Positive By month from 2003 to 2007
and also a higher
light frequency. 50 percent

40

30

WHEN THE LIGHTS GO DOWN 20


Instead of just tossing lights out, consider these sustainable options:
Create twist-ties from discarded wire; reuse old bulbs in crafts or create jewelry 10
designs from excess material.
Give away old lights or use a trading program like Freecycle, or donate them. J F M A M J J A S O N D
For more information on criteria for donation visit these Web sites:
EnvironmentalLights.com, HolidayLEDs.com or ChristmasLightSource.com

ELISA DAY/Missourian
A colorful display of candy canes and Christmas lights
Sources: U.S. CONSUMER PRODUCT SAFETY COMMISSION, NATIONAL FIRE PROTECTION ASSOCIATION, GREEN
OPTIONS, HOW STUFF WORKS, ENERGY STAR, WASHINGTON STATE UNIVERSITY EXTENSION ENERGY PROGRAM, decorates a house Tuesday on Stratford Court in northwest
HOLIDAYLEDS.COM, CONSUMER REPORTS DATA, WORLD ENVIRONMENTAL ORGANIZATION, ANTIQUE CHRISTMAS Columbia.
LIGHTS MUSEUM, ENVIRONMENTALLIGHTS.COM, HOLIDAYLEDS.COM; CHRISTMASLIGHTSOURCE.COM