Shots - Health News
2:26 am
Thu December 19, 2013

Congress Poised To Permanently Fix Its Medicare Payment Glitch

It's health results — not the number of treatments — that should count, leaders say.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Thu December 19, 2013 11:56 am

The two-year budget deal approved by the Senate on Wednesday is aimed at preventing another government shutdown.

It also includes a familiar annual rider — language to avert a steep pay cut to doctors who treat Medicare patients. But this time might be different, with a fix that lasts. After more than a decade of temporary solutions, it appears Congress might be on the verge of permanently solving its persistent problem in the way it makes Medicare payments to doctors.

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Parallels
2:06 am
Thu December 19, 2013

Brazil's Post Offices Help Deliver Christmas Wishes

Volunteers look through children's letters to Santa at a post office in Salvador in northeastern Brazil's Bahia state. The campaign is part of a more than 20-year tradition to help those less fortunate to have gifts for the holiday.
Raul Spinasse DPA /Landov

Originally published on Thu December 19, 2013 7:47 pm

"Dear Father Christmas," the letter reads, "my name is Larissa. I know that you are very busy and that you live a long way away in the North Pole, but I'd like to ask you for a gift because my mother doesn't have enough money to buy what I want."

There are piles of similar letters — many decorated with stickers, drawings and hand prints — lying on makeshift tables in the main hall of the post office in downtown Sao Paulo.

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Animals
2:05 am
Thu December 19, 2013

Russian Demand Fuels Comeback Of North American Fur Market

A model displays a creation by Russian designer Igor Gulyaev during the Volvo Fashion Week in Moscow on Oct. 27, 2011.
Mikhail Metzel AP

Originally published on Thu December 19, 2013 11:08 am

North American fur is booming.

Not in North America, necessarily, but "you can't keep fur in stock in Russia," says furrier Greg Tinder. "The higher the price tag you put on it, the faster it sells."

Tinder, who left Saks Fifth Avenue to start his own label, says the East has always been a furrier's dream — think big, plushy Soviet-era hats. But now, with Russia's economy on the rise, there's some new money on the block, and designers know that.

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All Tech Considered
2:04 am
Thu December 19, 2013

Bay Area's Steep Housing Costs Spark Return To Communal Living

Residents of the Embassy House, a communal home near San Francisco's Haight-Ashbury district, eat dinner together every Sunday.
Elise Hu NPR

Originally published on Thu December 19, 2013 11:08 am

This week, we're exploring the San Francisco Bay Area and the way income inequality is affecting the region. Check out the other pieces of the week, aggregated on this page.

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The Salt
2:00 am
Thu December 19, 2013

This Stanford Ph.D. Became A Fruit Picker To Feed California's Hungry

Sarah Ramirez runs an organization that brings excess produce to the hungry. Here, she gleans apples from a front yard.
Scott Anger KQED

Originally published on Sun December 22, 2013 9:16 am

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Government
5:48 pm
Wed December 18, 2013

Disability parking changes take effect Jan. 1st

Most drivers with state disability parking placards will pay at parking meters starting January 1st.  The new law will require anyone with a blue or red placard to start inserting coins at meters in Illinois.  Mary Riseling is with the Illinois Secretary of State's Office. She says the change means an increase in revenue for cities with metered parking:

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The Two-Way
4:59 pm
Wed December 18, 2013

Senate Approves Budget Deal, Reducing Chances Of A Shutdown

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), walks to the chamber for the final votes on the bipartisan budget deal on Wednesday.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Thu December 19, 2013 5:24 pm

The Senate passed a two-year bipartisan budget deal aimed at easing automatic spending cuts and avoiding a government shutdown, following a House vote on the measure last week.

The vote by a simple majority was absent the partisan brinksmanship that has become a hallmark of budget deals in recent memory.

The appropriations committees in both chambers must now set in stone a $1.012 trillion fiscal 2014 spending bill before current spending authority expires. Congress also faces a spring 2014 to raise the debt ceiling — another potential partisan standoff.

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Shots - Health News
4:58 pm
Wed December 18, 2013

HIV Treatment Keeps A Family Together And Growing In Kenya

When Benta Odeny was diagnosed with HIV, she started to protect her husband Daniel from the virus by taking antiretroviral medications. The same drugs also helped her give birth to an HIV-negative daughter, Angelia.
Gregory Warner NPR

Originally published on Thu December 19, 2013 4:17 pm

Daniel and Benta Odeny married late by African standards: Both were in their 30s. And they'd only just hit their third anniversary when Benta started coughing blood.

The cough lasted a couple of weeks. So Benta went to the doctor. She had HIV. But Daniel was still HIV negative.

"She thought it was the end of the world," Daniel says.

Benta thought that Daniel would leave her and she would die alone. She had seen it happen many times to other women in her situation.

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Planet Money
4:49 pm
Wed December 18, 2013

A Tiny Taper, In 2 Graphs

Tapir
Flickr

In the past five years, the Federal Reserve has created roughly $3 trillion out of thin air.

The Fed uses the money it creates out of thin air to buy bonds. The idea is to drive down interest rates, which encourages people and businesses to borrow and spend money. It's called quantitative easing.

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Commentary
4:46 pm
Wed December 18, 2013

I Love To Shop, But Do I Have A Shopping Problem?

Sophie Varon loves to shop. But lately, she's been wondering if her shopping habit has become a shopping problem.
Brett Myers Youth Radio

Originally published on Thu December 19, 2013 9:36 am

Whether you love buying gifts or dread trips to the mall, good luck avoiding some kind of shopping during the holiday season. But I don't need the excuse of a holiday to get me to the stores. I'm obsessed with shopping.

The question is, am I a shopaholic? The technical term is "compulsive buyer," according to psychologist April Benson.

"Simply put," says Dr. Benson, compulsive buying is "when we spend so much time, energy and/or money shopping ... or even thinking about shopping and buying that it is impairing our life in a significant way."

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