Shots - Health Blog
5:03 am
Thu December 8, 2011

When 'Critical Access Hospitals' Aren't So Critical

Shirley Holden, 78, has been coming to Hood Memorial Hospital since 1971. She says if the hospital were to close, she'd mostly stay home. "I would not be going ... anywhere else unless I went on a stretcher."
Jenny Gold for NPR

Originally published on Thu December 8, 2011 12:27 pm

Hood Memorial Hospital, in Amite, La., hasn't been full in at least two decades. Some people say that makes it's a perfect target for efforts to reduce federal spending.

On an average day, fewer than four of the hospital's 25 beds are occupied. Last year, Hood posted a $700,000 loss on its $7.5 million in total operating expenses. One of the few bright spots on Hood's balance sheet: the extra money it receives from the federal government through a program for critical access hospitals — small facilities that receive a higher Medicare reimbursement rate to help keep them afloat.

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Presidential Race
5:02 am
Thu December 8, 2011

Gingrich, Romney Offer Stark Immigration Choice

Republican presidential candidates Mitt Romney (left) and Newt Gingrich shake hands after a Republican presidential debate in Tampa, Fla.
Mike Carlson AP

There are many flashpoints between Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney as they battle for the Republican presidential nomination. Most of them are about character or leadership: Who can beat President Obama? Who's the real conservative?

But Gingrich and Romney do have one big policy difference — and that's on immigration.

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National Security
5:01 am
Thu December 8, 2011

Officials Detail Plans To Fight Terrorism At Home

The White House will unveil a broad, new strategy Thursday aimed at battling homegrown terrorism in the U.S. The program aims to empower communities by teaching local officials to recognize violent extremism and see the threat as a public safety issue, like the battle against gangs and drugs.

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Race
5:00 am
Thu December 8, 2011

Black Scholar Of The Civil War Asks: Who's With Me?

Soldiers of the 4th U.S. Colored Infantry Regiment, E Company, pose for a photograph at Fort Lincoln, Md., one of several fortifications ringing Washington, D.C., during the Civil War.
Library of Congress

The Civil War ended slavery in America. So why, asks author Ta-Nehisi Coates, do African-Americans, who benefited most from the conflict, take so little interest in it? Coates, a confessed Civil War obsessive, wrote about that question in his recent article, "Why Do So Few Blacks Study the Civil War?"

The story appears in a special issue of The Atlantic commemorating the Civil War.

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Shots - Health Blog
5:00 am
Thu December 8, 2011

Women's Groups Outraged By Ruling On Morning-After Pill

Women's health advocates were quick to cry foul Wednesday when Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius overruled the opinion of the Food and Drug Administration that the popular "morning after" emergency contraceptive "Plan B One Step" should be allowed to be sold without a prescription — and without age restrictions.

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Europe
4:00 am
Thu December 8, 2011

High Stakes For Europe, World Economy In Brussels

France and Germany are trying to persuade other European countries to sign onto a package of reforms aimed at shoring up the embattled euro. They're hoping to win agreement in time for Friday's big summit of European leaders in Brussels. A failure to reach agreement could send the wrong signal to the financial markets, which are already deeply worried about Europe's fiscal problems.

U.S.
4:00 am
Thu December 8, 2011

Blagojevich's 14-Year Term Starts In February

Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich has been sentenced to 14 years in federal prison following his bribery and extortion convictions. He is expected to begin serving the sentence in February.

Health
4:00 am
Thu December 8, 2011

Houston's Health Clinics Struggle To Meet Demand

A new study documents the increasing crush of patients turning to free public clinics in the Houston area. Officials there are worried because they expect even more people to seek care when the Affordable Care Act, the federal health law, takes effect in a little over a year.

U.S.
4:00 am
Thu December 8, 2011

Report: Troops' Cremated Remains Went To Landfill

An investigation by the Washington Post shows that remains of 274 service members were cremated and disposed of in a landfill by personnel at Dover Air Force Base. Steve Inskeep talks to the Post's Craig Whitlock, one of the reporters who uncovered the story.

Europe
2:25 am
Thu December 8, 2011

Can Angela Merkel Save Europe?

German Chancellor Angela Merkel says Europe's economic turmoil is the continent's greatest crisis since World War II. But critics say she has been doing too little and lacks a bold vision for solving Europe's problems.
Sean Gallup Getty Images

German Chancellor Angela Merkel's approach to the debt crisis currently roiling Europe has been calm, logical, methodical and — according to detractors, especially outside Germany, too slow and unimaginative.

Critics are seething that she insists on austerity as the main medicine for debt-ridden southern neighbors while she offers no new ideas for growth and fiercely resists efforts to let the European Central Bank intervene more.

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