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Daily Rounds: Autism-Vaccine 'Fraud'; Mass. Speaker On Health Insurance; Health Care Eats 17.6% Of GDP

Journal: Study Linking Vaccine To Autism Was Fraud : NPR "The first study to link a childhood vaccine to autism was based on doctored information about the children involved, according to a new report on the widely discredited research. The conclusions of the 1998 paper by Andrew Wakefield and colleagues was renounced by 10 of its 13 authors and later retracted by the medical journal Lancet, where it was published. Still, the suggestion the MMR shot was connected to autism spooked parents worldwide and immunization rates for measles, mumps and rubella have never fully recovered. A new examination found, by comparing the reported diagnoses in the paper to hospital records, that Wakefield and colleagues altered facts about patients in their study." (npr.org)

DeLeo calls for insurance reform, no taxes, end to patronage, new deal on gambling "DeLeo said he wants to force municipal workers to join the state's health plan, even if their unions oppose the move. State lawmakers and Governor Deval Patrick have long resisted that change, saying unions must have a voice in determining their health plans. DeLeo himself has been publicly cool to such a significant change. But DeLeo said moving the employees into the state plan could save $100 million for cities and towns that are expected to take a cut in aid from the state, which is facing a $1.5 billion budget gap for the next fiscal year." (Boston Globe)

Health Spending Rose in 2009, but at a Low Rate - NYTimes.com "WASHINGTON — Total national health spending grew by 4 percent in 2009, the slowest rate of increase in 50 years, as people lost their jobs, lost health insurance and deferred medical care, the federal government reported on Wednesday. Still, health care accounted for a larger share of a smaller economy — a record 17.6 percent of the total economic output in 2009, the report said. The economy contracted while health spending continued to grow."(nytimes.com)

The Many Lives Of The 'Death Panel' | WBUR & NPR "The Obama administration reignited the controversy over end-of-life planning less than two weeks ago with a reference to those sorts of talks in a set of regulations about annual physicals for Medicare patients. Then, as the New York Times reported today, it abruptly reversed course and deleted the reference. But it remains perfectly legal for physicians to talk with patients during annual visits paid for by Medicare about how much or little care they want when facing a terminal illness. And it has almost nothing to do with the controversial 2010 Affordable Care Act." (WBUR | 90.9 FM)

This program aired on January 6, 2011. The audio for this program is not available.

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