Daily Rounds: Obama On Drug Shortage; Doctor's Office Visits Decline; Steve Jobs Dying: 'OH WOW.'

Obama to take executive action on drug shortage - Reuters) — "U.S. President Barack Obama will sign an executive order on Monday aimed at easing shortages of prescription drugs, according to a White House House official. The official said the order would direct the Food and Drug Administration "to take action to help further reduce and prevent drug shortages, protect consumers and prevent price gouging." The signing of the order is scheduled for 12:20 p.m. EDT. Obama is also expected to give his support to legislation pending in the House of Representatives and Senate that would give the FDA new tools to prevent drug shortages." (Reuters)

Decline in doctor office visits could be permanent ( - "The number of visits patients make to physicians in a given month — a vital sign for the whole health care economy — has been declining consistently, according to multiple tracking studies, companies and researchers. Analysts say those numbers may not bounce back, even with health system reform. That's because a struggling economy, higher insurance deductibles, and the efforts by health plans and others to reduce utilization have altered patient patterns, perhaps permanently. Patients now often seek office visits — or any interaction with the health system — only when a problem can't be ignored." (

A sister's eulogy for Steve Jobs (New York Times) - "But with that will, that work ethic, that strength, there was also sweet Steve’s capacity for wonderment, the artist’s belief in the ideal, the still more beautiful later. Steve’s final words, hours earlier, were monosyllables, repeated three times. Before embarking, he’d looked at his sister Patty, then for a long time at his children, then at his life’s partner, Laurene, and then over their shoulders past them. Steve’s final words were: OH WOW. OH WOW. OH WOW." (This amazing piece also includes his inventions for a better hospital experience.)

Opponents of health insurance mandate finding tough road to ballot (Boston Herald) - "A ballot campaign to gut a cornerstone of the 2006 health care law signed by Gov. Mitt Romney has generated little out-of-state interest despite the potential national implications of the effort, a top organizer said Thursday. Bridget Fay, treasurer of the campaign to repeal the state’s requirement that residents obtain health insurance – a move that backers say would lead to the unraveling of the entire law – said supporters have collected about 10,000 signatures since early September. Ballot laws require the collection of 69,900 certified voter signatures by Nov. 23 in order to proceed, and successful organizers typically collect 100,000 signatures or more in order to guard against challenges." (Boston Herald)

Corporations offer help in trimming the waist (NPR) - "Dow offers heavily subsidized gym fees, fitness trainers and nutrition specialists. Why? Of course it wants workers healthy and happy. But in 2004, managers got a jolt. Despite Dow's decades-long promotion of good health, a study found that 1 in 3 employees was obese, the same as the national average. Catherine Baase, the global director of Dow's health services, knew that this meant lost productivity, and that it was helping to drive up Dow's health care costs by 8 percent to 10 percent a year. "If we just were successful in keeping our spend at the lower end of that inflation rate," she says, "that would be tens of millions of dollars per year." (NPR)

This program aired on October 31, 2011. The audio for this program is not available.


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