Daily Rounds: Food Bank Shortfall; Politics Of Hospital Pricing; ADHD Drug Battle; College-Age Couch Potatoes

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Food banks seek state help to address rising demand, USDA cutbacks - (Boston Herald) "Hundreds of food pantries, soup kitchens and shelters in Massachusetts face unprecedented demand for meals from cash-strapped, struggling residents and are asking state officials to step in to help address the problem. The state’s four non-profit food banks – which supply food to organizations around the commonwealth – have asked the Patrick administration to increase state funding to $15 million in fiscal year 2013 – a $3.5 million bump from fiscal year 2012. Recent cutbacks in food supplied by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and increased prices make it harder to feed the hungry, according to several advocates."

20 Years Ago � The Health Care Market Came to Stay - Health Stew - ( "In the mid-1970s, facing a deep recession and a health care cost crisis, and at the urging of business and insurance industry leaders, Massachusetts joined a small group of states in launching a vigorous regulatory program to control the growth in hospital spending and to make sure that all hospitals were paid by insurers according to consistent rules. Evidence shows that the system held down the rate of growth for about ten years, and lost its effectiveness in the late 1980s. In 1991, in the midst of another deep recession and health care cost crisis, new Republican Gov. Weld convinced the Legislature to embrace his deregulatory agenda, particularly Senate President Bill Bulger, Senate Ways and Means Chair Patricia McGovern, House Speaker Charlie Flaherty, and House Ways & Means Chair Tom Finneran, all Democrats. Weld's key architect was his Health Under-Secretary, Charles D. Baker, more recently the unsuccessful Republican candidate for governor and former CEO of Harvard Pilgrim Health Care. From 1992 on, hospitals and insurance companies negotiated rates of payment for services among themselves, in private, with no government interference or oversight."

F.D.A. Finds Short Supply of Attention Deficit Drugs - "Now, multiple manufacturers have announced that their medicines are in short supply. The F.D.A. has included these pills on its official shortages list, as has the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, which tracks the problem for hospitals. And the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry has told the more than 8,000 doctors in its membership that shortages seem to be “widespread across a number of states” and are “devastating” for children. Officials at the Food and Drug Administration say the shortages are a result of overly strict quotas set by the Drug Enforcement Administration, which, for its part, questions whether there really are shortages or whether manufacturers are simply choosing to make more of the expensive pills than the generics, creating supply and demand imbalances." (

Fitness often not a priority for college students (Reuters) "Along with mother's cooking and the family dog, regular exercise is too often among the childish things young adults leave behind when they make the move from home to college. Attention should be paid to this drop off, experts say, because those inactive in youth tend to remain inactive over their lifetime."The transition from late adolescence to early adulthood represents the most dramatic declines in physical activity across a person's life," according to Dr. Matthew Kwan, a researcher at McMaster University in Ontario, Canada."

This program aired on January 2, 2012. The audio for this program is not available.