Published November 2, 2021

Health care issues for seniors, the crumbling of a Biden proposal, and an awakening in municipal politics. Rutgers experts explore a range of topics.

How did a keystone of President Biden’s legislative agenda fall by the wayside, and what does that loss signify for citizens across the economic spectrum? NBC News reports on the fate of paid family leave, quoting Debra Lancaster RC’93, executive director of the Center for Women and Work at the School of Management and Labor Relations. A national paid leave policy would “level the playing field” for a large majority of Americans, says Lancaster, but at this point, the ability to bond with a newborn or care for a sick or elderly relative is still “reserved for those who have the resources to do so.”

NBC News | Supporters of paid family leave ‘disappointed’ after Democrats slash it from Biden’s plan

Because all senior citizens need their teeth, Medicare should include dental coverage, says Cecile Feldman, dean of Rutgers School of Dental Medicine. Feldman writes in a Star-Ledger op-ed, “As we age, our teeth require more maintenance and often need to be replaced with dentures or implants. Under existing Medicare plans, oral health is only covered if it’s considered ‘medically necessary.’ This limits care to procedures such as dental exams before cancer treatment or corrective measures to repair facial trauma.” | All seniors need their teeth. That means they all deserve dental coverage through Medicare

Debbie Walsh GSNB’80, director of Rutgers’ Center for American Women and Politics, talks to the New York Times about the increase in Black women mayors in some of the largest U.S. cities. The trend has accelerated in the last five years, Walsh says, adding, “There has been increased activism in recruiting and supporting women of color who are running for office, certainly on the Democratic side. More and more of these gatekeepers are engaging and seeking out Black women candidates.”

New York Times | These 8 Black women run some of the biggest U.S. cities

To eat or not to eat? That’s a fair question when baked goods covered with luster dust appear on your plate. U.S. News & World Report examines findings on the potential toxicity of the ingredient brought to light by health professionals including Adrienne Ettinger, chief of staff for research at Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences. “There are…edible food-grade versions and nonedible versions and, unfortunately, the two have been confused,” explains Ettinger, in part because “the labels are not always explicit.” She fears that poisonous metals in luster dust have sickened many children and that their cases have not been diagnosed or reported.

U.S. News & World Report | Pretty poison: ‘Luster dust’ sprinkled on cakes can be toxic

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