Confronted by the government, section holds its ground

first_img August 1, 2005 Senior Editor Regular News Confronted by the government, section holds its ground Confronted by the government, section holds its ground Jan Pudlow Senior Editor Little did Scott Solkoff realize when he became chair of the Elder Law Section that he would wind up summoned to the Capitol and threatened with criminal prosecution.The government accused him — and Florida’s other elder law attorneys — of illegally helping qualify rich clients for Medicaid.Solkoff countered that elder law attorneys are simply doing their duty to advise their clients on how to protect their life savings so they can qualify for needed insurance through the Medicaid program and receive needed health care without becoming impoverished.“It was a call to courage and a call to principle,” Solkoff told members gathered at the Elder Law Luncheon at The Florida Bar’s Annual Meeting in Orlando June 24.“I was never prouder of this membership when we voted as an executive council that our clients will always come first. When we look at reforms to the Medicaid program, that even if it meant we were going to negotiate ourselves to a worse position business-wise, if we would lose money because we would end up solving the problems that we help people with, that we would prefer that fate. So we recognize that we are advocates, above all, rather than a trade organization.”Here’s what happened, according to Solkoff, a Boyton Beach attorney who is the son of Jerome Solkoff, a founding member of the Elder Law Committee and the second chair when it began as a section:On March 9, he and then-Bar President Kelly Overstreet Johnson were called to a meeting at the Capitol by the office of the secretary of the Agency for Health Care Administration.When they walked into a conference room in the Office of the Attorney General at the Capitol, Solkoff said in an interview, “It turned out to be an ambush.” In the room were high-ranking officials from the Attorney General’s Office, Department of Elder Affairs, the Office of the Governor, and AHCA.One government official, he said, was holding an op-ed piece in the Wall Street Journal and the accusation was that “those elder law attorneys are qualifying those rich clients for Medicaid.”“It took an hour from us educating them,” Solkoff said. “The tone in that room was completely changed after we left.”In summing up their argument, Solkoff offered this scenario:“If you have a married couple who saved up to $200,000 throughout their life, one needs nursing home care that costs $5,000 a month, they will be completely wiped out and the other spouse has nothing. What we do is protect what they have saved, and so they can qualify for Medicaid for care, and use their own dollars to pay for what Medicaid doesn’t cover.“We tried to turn the discussion around that we are not nefarious attorneys trying to bilk the system, but that this is a real social problem that people are facing.”What started with threats of criminal prosecution ended in a changed tone of agreeing to work together to solve the problem, he said.“I say with no ego that I felt that I was at my very best that I have ever been that day,” Solkoff told the elder law attorneys at the luncheon.“It was largely because the words coming out of my mouth were your words, and the words I had heard from all the seminars I attended, and from listening to my father. I was able to explain to the government that we weren’t crooks; we are actually helping people and we are following the law.“I commend this membership for standing strong this year and for being able to talk to the government in a way that was respectful, but not cowed,” Solkoff said. “doing that, we were able to mend fences and help educate people.”During his term as chair, Solkoff created the Joint Public Policy Task Force, a combined effort of the section and the Academy of Florida Elder Law Attorneys.Lauchlin Waldoch, a co-chair of that task force, praised Solkoff and Johnson for their efforts on the issue.“On that particular issue, I had a very good meeting,” Waldoch said. “The Attorney General’s Office has told us unequivocally that we are not on their radar screen. We are not even on their list, not even at the bottom of the list. So we are going to use that as an opportunity. They have asked us to work with them on a going-forward basis.”The section also now has two lobbyists.“There is a strong likelihood of a special session on Medicaid in October or November,” Waldoch said. “So we’ve got a very, very busy time ahead of us in the next four or five months.”The section’s goal, Solkoff said, is to work with the legislature “to ensure that there is a government system that provides for the health care for people who need it. It’s rather basic. You have people who have worked all their lives and saved their small fortune, and they will lose it all and then be totally reliant on the government dole. We want to make sure there is a health care system in place that doesn’t require total impoverishment.”The section’s new chair, Chris Likens, said, “I am sure Scott had absolutely no clue what was coming ahead,” when he became chair.last_img read more

Crystal Palace fans delighted with signing of Jordan Ayew

first_imgThank you Mr. Parish you’re the best owner in the league xxx— sam 🎪 (@Roilionpapis) July 25, 2019 Absolutely Stupendous— G (@worldclasswoy) July 25, 2019 Black Stars striker, Jordan Ayew might have been the target of some criticism for large parts of his senior career but it seems the player is in line for a fresh start next season at Crystal Palace.Having spent last season on loan at the London club, Jordan has now signed a permanent deal keeping him at Selhurst Park for three more years.Despite not being the most prolific goalscorer for the club, with only two goals and two assists in 25 appearances last year, Jordan endeared himself to Eagles fans with his work rate and effort.His game-deciding strikes for the club certainly didn’t hurt his reputation with the club’s supporters either.center_img Jordan Ayew’s often ignored goalscoring prowess came to the fore at the just-ended African Cup of Nations tournament where he led the Black Stars to the Round of 16, scoring two of Ghana’s five goals at the competition.This has heightened the excitement of Palace fans who hope that he can replicate this fine form in the Premier League.last_img read more