Tag Archives: Ollie Webb Center

Caregiver’s Golden Years, Between a Rock and a Hard Place

November 5, 2017 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

When Franklin Delano Roosevelt presented America with the Second New Deal, he created a national social safety net to prevent vulnerable senior citizens from dying in poverty.

Social Security came into being with the Social Security Act of 1935. Thirty years later, the federal safety net further expanded with the creation of Medicare and Medicaid during the presidency of Lyndon Johnson.

The system evolved to assist not only the elderly (with Medicare focusing on citizens aged 65 and older), but also the disabled and impoverished of all ages (with Medicaid), to become as self-sustaining and independent as possible.

Fast forward to the 21st century. Ever since 2010, President Barak Obama’s Affordable Care Act (aka “Obamacare”) dramatically widened the nation’s social safety net. In the first year of Donald Trump’s presidency, Republican efforts to undo and repeal the Affordable Care Act sparked concerns that 22 million Americans (according to the Congressional Budget Office) would lose their access to affordable health insurance.

With Republican control of the White House, House of Representatives, and Senate, the federal safety net seemed all but certain to shrink.

The Congressional Budget Office—tasked with determining how much any given piece of legislation will cost (or save) to implement, including reductions in tax revenue—concluded in a March 13 report that the American Health Care Act of 2017, popularly known as “Trumpcare,” would: “reduce federal deficits by $337 billion over the 2017-2026 period” with the largest savings coming “from reductions in outlays for Medicaid” and from elimination of Affordable Care Act “subsidies for non-group health insurance.”

While much of the 2017 health care debates have focused on repealing Obamacare, 74-year-old Marge Koley (of Bellevue) exists at the crux of Medicaid and Medicare. Koley is one of the many senior caregivers who attend to younger, disabled relatives.

She and her husband rely on the earned benefits of Social Security and Medicare, benefits that have made it possible for them to enjoy their golden years without working.

Watching the media spectacle unfold, Koley was most afraid for their 37-year-old daughter, Jenny, who has Down syndrome. Jenny qualifies for Social Security Disability Insurance, Medicare and Medicaid for health insurance, and receives support services to live and work independently through Medicaid and Nebraska Health and Human Services.

“Jenny has always had the dream of having her own apartment and living as independently as possible,” Koley says, speaking with Omaha Magazine in July on the eve of the so-called “skinny repeal,” the last ditch effort to repeal Obamacare by the Senate.

“What will happen to Jenny after I am not here to care for her?” she says. “That is my greatest fear. She has one sibling in Indiana. If the proposed caps and cuts in Medicaid are enacted, she could lose the services she needs to live and be part of the community. Also lost are the years of progress allowing people with disabilities to decide for themselves where they want to live and with whom. We may have for-profit insurance companies running programs and deciding the fate of our children. Will institutional living return? Will the waitlists continue to grow and grow?”

Jenny moved into her own place in September 2016; meanwhile, Koley still provides most of her transportation needs. Medicaid service providers take care of residential support and job coaching.

“Jenny currently works nine hours a week at the Ollie Webb Center,” Koley says, obviously proud of what her daughter has been able to accomplish with some compassionate assistance. “Jenny loves being responsible for herself, and now cleans her apartment and does her wash on her own without prompting, and has been able to decrease her outside support. Now, she has someone one day a week to help work on cooking, going out into the community.”

The current political environment is a source of anxiety for Koley, who says she has never before seen the American public so polarized.

“This is the most divisive political climate I have ever experienced. Neither side will listen to the other’s views,” Koley says, adding that if she had a chance to talk to lawmakers, her message for them is to save Medicaid. “I want them to save Medicaid and to get a full understanding of the consequences of their actions. Budgets should not be balanced on the backs of people with disabilities who are least able to defend themselves.”

Efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act—for the time being—came to a screeching halt with the pivotal thumbs-down vote from Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona, who flew to Washington D.C. for the vote shortly after being diagnosed with an aggressive form of brain cancer.

Months after the failure of the “skinny repeal,” in the week following the failure of another repeal attempt (the Graham-Cassidy Bill), Koley experienced a sense of temporary relief.

“I’m very happy that it did fail, knowing how it would affect Jenny,” she says. “But I know politicians will be revisiting this, and we’ll need to gear up again to defend Medicaid benefits at a later time.”

Visit olliewebbinc.org to learn more about the Medicaid service provider that plays a crucial role in the lives of Marge and Jenny Koley.

From left: Marge and Jenny Koley

This article was printed in the November/December 2017 issue of Omaha Magazine.

2017 May/June Giving Calendar

May 1, 2017 by and

*May 1

Youth Emergency Services’ Golf Outing (10 a.m.-7 p.m.)
Benefitting: Youth Emergency Services
Location: The Players Club at Deer Creek

May 2

50th Annual Boys Town Booster Banquet (5:30-9 p.m.)
Benefitting: Boys Town sports
Location: Embassy Suites, La Vista

Countdown to Cinco de Mayo (5:30-9:30 p.m.)
Benefitting: OneWorld Community Health
Location: Livestock Exchange Building

May 3

Memories for Kids 2017 Guild Luncheon (11 a.m.-1 p.m.)
Benefitting: Memories for Kids
Location: Champions Run

May 4

Heartland Heroes, A Centennial Celebration (6-7 p.m.)
Benefitting: American Red Cross
Location: CenturyLink Center

May 5

Leaders for Life Luncheon (11:30 a.m.-1 p.m.)
Benefitting: Creighton University’s female student-athletes
Location: Ryan Athletic Center

Run for the Wet Noses: Talk Derby to Me (5:30-9 p.m.)
Benefitting: Midlands Humane Society
Location: Mid-America Center, Council Bluffs

May 6

For the Kids Benefit: A Day at the Races, a Night on the Town (5-9:30 p.m.)
Benefitting: Omaha Children’s Museum
Location: Omaha Children’s Museum

May 9

D.J.’s Hero Awards Luncheon (11:45 a.m.-1:15 p.m.)
Benefitting: Salvation Army
Location: CenturyLink Center Omaha

May 11

Evening with Friends (6-9 p.m.)
Benefitting: CHI Health Midlands
Location: CHI Health Midlands Hospital

May 12

An Evening in the Garden (6-9:30 p.m.)
Benefitting: Brownell Talbot School
Location: Brownell Talbot Campus

Man & Woman of the Year Grand Finale Gala (6-10 p.m.)
Benefitting: Leukemia & Lymphoma Society
Location: Embassy Suites, La Vista

On the Road to the Big Easy 2017 (5:30 p.m.-midnight)
Benefitting: Boys & Girls Clubs of the Midlands
Location: Omaha Design Center

May 13

Cabaret (6-9:30 p.m.)
Benefitting: The Child Saving Institute
Location: Hilton Omaha

14th Annual Wear Yellow Ride, Fun Run & Walk (7 a.m.-2 p.m.)
Benefitting: Wear Yellow Nebraska
Location: Strategic Air Command & Aerospace Museum

2017 Omaha Heart Walk (8 a.m.)
Benefitting: American Heart Association
Location: Miller’s Landing

May 15

Ronald McDonald House in Omaha Golf Tournament (noon)
Benefitting: Ronald McDonald House Charities in Omaha
Location: The Players Club at Deer Creek

Chip in for Children Golf Tournament (11 a.m.)
Benefitting: Children’s Square USA
Location: Council Bluffs Country Club

May 18

SAVE Program Graduation Dinner (5:30-9 p.m.)
Benefitting: SAVE
Location: Champion’s Run

Breathe and Brew Spring Yoga Series (6:30-7:30 p.m.)
Benefitting: American Lung Association
Location: Lucky Bucket Brewery

May 19

Golf Scramble (noon-6 p.m.)
Benefitting: Senior Health Foundation
Location: Shoreline Golf Course

May 20

Great Strides (9:30 a.m.-noon)
Benefitting: Cystic Fibrosis Foundation
Location: Stinson Park

May 22

Children’s Charity Golf Classic (11 a.m.-5 p.m.)
Benefitting: Children’s Hospital & Medical Center Foundation
Location: Champions Run

May 24

Omaha Gives! (midnight-11:59 p.m.)
Benefitting: more than 1,000 Omaha nonprofits
Location: online

May 25

Bland Cares Angels Among Us Golf Outing (10:30 a.m.-7 p.m.)
Benefitting: Angels Among Us
Location: Tiburon Golf Club

May 27

19th Annual Remembrance Walk (9-11 a.m.)
Benefitting: Grief’s Journey
Location: Miller’s Landing/Pedestrian Bridge

June 1

Pinot, Pigs & Poets (6-10 p.m.)
Benefitting: Completely KIDS
Location: Happy Hollow Club

June 2

Grand Slam! (6:30-11 p.m.)
Benefitting: Methodist Hospital
Location: Werner Park

Run for the Young (7-8:30 p.m.)
Benefitting: Children’s Square USA
Location: Peak Performance

June 3

Annual Gala (6:30-11 p.m.)
Benefitting: Joslyn Art Museum Association
Location: Joslyn Art Museum

Ollie’s Dream Gala 2017 (6:30-10 p.m.)
Benefitting: Ollie Webb Center
Location: Hilton Omaha

June 5

Central High Foundation Golf Outing (7:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m.)
Benefitting: Central High School
Location: Field Club of Omaha

CHI Health Golf Outing (10:30 a.m.-4 p.m.)
Benefitting: CHI Health Foundation
Location: The Players Club at Deer Creek

June 7

CHANCE Luncheon (11:30 a.m.-1 p.m.)
Benefitting: Children’s Scholarship Fund of Omaha
Location: CenturyLink Center

June 8

Tee It Up Fore Sight Annual Golf Tournament (10:30 a.m.-3 p.m.)
Benefitting: Outlook Nebraska, Inc.
Location: Indian Creek Golf Course

June 9

Sand in the City (10 a.m.-4 p.m.)
Benefitting: Nebraska Children’s Home Society
Location: Baxter Arena

June 10

Child Saving Institute Kids 4 Kids (7:30 p.m.)
Benefitting: The Child Saving Institute
Location: Sumter Amphitheater

Vets & Pets Blackjack Run (9 a.m.-5 p.m.)
Benefitting: Midlands Humane Society
Location: American Legion

Centennial Gala (7-9 p.m.)
Benefitting: American Red Cross
Location: CenturyLink Center

June 11

Monroe-Meyer Guild Garden Walk (9 a.m.-4 p.m.)
Benefitting: Munroe-Meyer Institute
Location: 150th Street and West Dodge Road to 168th and Harrison streets

June 12

15th Annual Hope Center for Kids Golf Classic (10:30 a.m.-6 p.m.)
Benefitting: Hope Center for Kids
Location: Champions Run Golf Course

Third Annual Golf Tournament (11 a.m.-6 p.m.)
Benefitting: First Responders Foundation
Location: Oak Hills Country Club

Hit the Links and Drive Against Disabilities Golf Tournament (11:30 a.m.-7 p.m.)
Benefitting: United Cerebral Palsy of Nebraska
Location: The Player’s Club at Deer Creek

June 13

Project Harmony Golf Invitational (11 a.m.-6 p.m.)
Benefitting: Project Harmony
Location: Indian Creek Golf Course

WCA Tribute to Women (11:30 a.m.-1 p.m.)
Benefitting: Women’s Center for Advancement
Location: Hilton Omaha

June 14

Hops for Harmony (5:30-8:30 p.m.)
Benefitting: Project Harmony
Location: Werner Park

June 16

Strike a Chord (6-9 p.m.)
Benefitting: Heartland Family Service
Location: Mid-America Center

June 19

Golf Fore Kids (11 a.m.-6 p.m.)
Benefitting: Child Saving Institute
Location: The Players Club at Deer Creek

June 21

The Longest Day, an individualized fundraiser (all day)
Benefitting: Alzheimer’s Association
Location: Donor’s choice

June 24

Wheels of Courage (11 a.m.-4 p.m.)
Benefitting: the Jennie Edmundson Foundation
Location: Quaker Steak & Lube, Council Bluffs

June 30

ALS in the Heartland’s 2017 Golf Classic (11 a.m.-8 p.m.)
Benefitting: ALS in the Heartland
Location: Tiburon Golf Club

This calendar is published as shown in the print edition

We welcome you to submit events to our print calendar. Please email event details and a 300 ppi photograph three months in advance to: editintern@omahamagazine.com

*Times and dates may change. Check the website, or with the event coordinator.