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Growth Of Children's Hospitals Raises Adult-Size Questions

Many children's hospitals started out humbly, like Children's Hospital Boston, which began with 20 beds in a row house shortly after the Civil War.

Today, Boston Children's and many other leading independent children's hospitals are health care juggernauts with extensive facilities, lots of assets and millionaire CEOs, Kaiser Health News reports in a series of articles.

The hospitals are nonprofits, but you wouldn't know that looking at the bottom lines of many of them. They're pouring billions of dollars into new buildings, adding beds and equipment and staff at the same time Washington, the states and employers grapple with budget-busting increases in health care spending.

Hospitals strongly defend the need for new and bigger facilities, and often claim they're good for the economy because of all the jobs created. But nothing is free in health care: tax exemptions accorded nonprofits help to fund the construction, and all the costs of care ultimately are borne by taxpayers, employers and workers.

The average American doesn't focus on the question of cost, says Martin Gaynor, an economist at Carnegie Mellon University and an expert on hospital spending. "They look at children's hospitals and think, 'my goodness, we're helping poor kids," he says. "But who do you think is paying for all this?"

Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

Jhumpa Lahiri Finds Freedom In Italian Memoir: 'No One Expected Me To Do It'

The Interpreter of Maladies author is a successful, Pulitzer Prize-winning English-language writer. But she found writing in Italian gave her true freedom; "Language is a very messy thing," she says.
NPR

Gulf Of Mexico Open For Fish-Farming Business

For the first time, companies can apply to set up fish farms in U.S. federal waters. The government says the move will help reduce American dependence on foreign seafood and improve security.
WAMU 88.5

What's Behind Trends In U.S. Violent Crime Rates

FBI data suggest there was a slight uptick in violent crime in the first half of last year, but overall violent crime rates in the U.S. have dropped dramatically over the last twenty years. What led to the long-term decline, and why do some say it’s likely to continue?

WAMU 88.5

Blocked: Twitter's Role In Combating Violent Extremism

Over the course of seven months, Twitter has suspended over 125,000 accounts for threatening or promoting terrorist acts.

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