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Article: Running Out Of Time, Money, And Independence?
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Running Out Of Time, Money, And Independence?

Michael Ogg

About the Author: Michael Ogg ( is a retired physics professor who lives in West Windsor, New Jersey.

In a talk in Washington, DC, Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius talked about Michael Ogg as exhibit A for why we need Community Living Assistance Services and Supports (CLASS), part of the new Affordable Care Act (ACA). Listen to the podcast (click here).

Abstract: A professor forced into retirement by a severe disability finds his personal care assistants essential. But he may not be able to afford their help much longer—and he faces going on Medicaid and possibly becoming institutionalized.

Article: It's 9:28 p.m. Serge punches the code into the digital lock and enters my front door, just as he does every night, seven days a week, asking the same question in his Haitian-accented French about how my day has been: Comment était votre journée? Serge has a formality that's a bit remote yet friendly: Neither of us seems sure whether to use the formal pronoun vous or the more familiar tu. He reaches for my phone and pushes the preprogrammed number, accessing his agency's automated time clock and recording his arrival time. Serge's duty hours technically start at 9:30, but he always comes precisely at 9:28.

Serge's arrival interrupts whatever I'm doing—reading a book, listening to music, talking with friends—and I must always be home when he arrives. I resent these constraints and intrusions. This rigid schedule precludes spontaneity or unpredictability in my evening activities. Yet I have no choice: I need his help. (click here to read the complete article from HealthAffairs website)

Ogg, Michael. Running Out of Time, Money, and Independence? HealthAffairs. January 2011 vol. 30 no. 1 173-176.

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