Veterans across the country are still waiting too long for medical care, a situation that drove the resignation of Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki last week.
Now Republicans and Democrats in Congress are competing to pass laws they think will fix the problem of medical wait times and other problems at the VA. The discussion over how to reform veterans' health care is starting to sound familiar.
When we first met Tammy Boudreaux, a freelance social worker in Houston, last December, she was still weighing her health insurance options.
She told us she was overwhelmed and confused by the choices she was finding on HealthCare.gov. And the high deductibles of the Obamacare plans didn't seem like such a great deal. But when we checked back in with Boudreaux this month, we learned that a chance encounter with a bottle of hot sauce ultimately changed her mind.
The crowd in a hotel ballroom in Washington, D.C., was rocking on Monday, the 2,000 people shrieking with excitement over federal health-care databases. That could only happen at Health Datapalooza, the annual summit for data geeks, doctors, researchers and patients who want to use data to transform health care — or at least make a buck.
Both of those goals are proving to demand a lot more than just coming up with a nifty API and getting the venture capitalists to buy in.
With so many studies linking Americans' collective sweet tooth to diseases including Type 2 diabetes, heart disease and obesity, there's a lot of talk about policies to nudge consumers to consume less sugar.
MICHEL MARTIN: I'm Michel Martin, and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Now it's time for our weekly conversation about personal finance - one of our money coach conversations. We've been hearing that the economy is slowly but surely picking up, which means that finally people are getting hired again. But in some industries, people are still getting laid off. And unfortunately, we know a little bit about that ourselves.
MICHEL MARTIN: As we've just heard, being fired or losing your job is something that a lot of people have had to worry about in recent years. But our next guest has some advice for those of us who tend to worry a lot about life's what-ifs. That advice is to wait. Columnist Steven Petrow recently wrote about his epiphany and learning how to wait to worry for The Washington Post. In the piece, he talked about how he decided to stop worrying about stuff that hadn't even happened yet. Steven Petrow is with us now. Welcome back. Thanks so much for joining us once again.
The effects of a sexual assault can be long-lasting, but the medical bills aren't supposed to be.
Yet a study published recently finds that despite federal efforts to lift that burden from rape victims, a hodgepodge of state rules mean some victims may still be charged for medical services related to rape, including prevention and treatment of pregnancy or sexually transmitted infections.
Now we have a story about the power of play. Some 200 million toddlers in poor countries are starting life with an extra burden. Because of malnourishment or disease, these kids are small for their age and their brains are underdeveloped. The consequences of this can haunt them into adulthood. But here's some positive news - there's a study in the journal Science suggesting that more play time with parents can dramatically reverse the damage suffered by these kids. NPR's Nurith Aizenman reports.
The federal law that governs special education lays out the goals pretty clearly: Students are entitled to an appropriate public education in the least restrictive environment.
But some parents of children with autism feel their local public schools aren't meeting their kids' needs. And with autism diagnoses rising, new schools are emerging specifically for autistic children.
Some parents see these specialized schools as a godsend. For others, they raise a new set of questions.
You can't just open up a living brain and see the memories inside.
So Roberto Malinow, a brain scientist at the University of California, San Diego, has spent years trying to find other ways to understand how memories are made and lost. The research — right now being done in rats – should lead to a better understanding of human memory problems ranging from Alzheimer's to post-traumatic stress disorder.
It took Harriette Thompson more than seven hours to run a marathon Sunday in San Diego. But that was awfully good, considering she's 91 and recovering from cancer.
In fact, she beat the previous record for women 90 and up by two hours and 45 minutes. She also became the second-oldest woman to complete a marathon in U.S. history, according to the running site Competitor.com.
On American Indian reservations, the traditional diet of wild plants and game for food is increasingly being replaced with a far less healthful diet of predominantly high-carb, high-sugar foods.
Along the way, obesity and type 2 diabetes rates have soared. At nearly 16 percent, American Indians and Alaska Natives have the highest prevalence of diabetes among all U.S. racial and ethnic groups, according to the American Diabetes Association.
"Welcome to Cigna," said the letter, dated May 16, on behalf of my new employer, the Kaiser Family Foundation. The letter also said the insurer was placing me on a one-year waiting period for any pre-existing conditions.
Seriously? Wasn't the health law supposed to end that?
"We have reviewed the evidence of prior creditable coverage provided by you and/or your prior carrier and have determined that you have 0 days of creditable coverage," the letter said.
For decades, women with multiple sclerosis have noticed that they tend to do better while they are pregnant. That has led to an experimental drug for the disease that's based on a hormone associated with pregnancy.
Call it what you will — acid reflux, gastroesophageal reflux disease, or just plain heartburn. About 1 in 5 Americans suffer symptoms each week. They spend $10 billion a year on medication to relieve those symptoms, including indigestion, chest pain and difficulty breathing. Some even get major surgery to cure this digestive disorder.
News about cancer therapies usually comes out in medical journals with the regular rhythm of an IV drip. But every now and then information comes out in a flood.
That's the case this weekend. The American Society of Clinical Oncology is holding its 50th annual meeting in Chicago. The convention typically attracts 30,000 attendees, making it one of the biggest cancer meetings of the year. And the amount of new information must be bewildering for even the most intrepid doctors.
In 1938, a group of nine British officers in Kuala Lumpur started going for weekly runs to shake off their weekend hangovers. They didn't have any grand ambitions, but the small group — known as the Hash House Harriers — evolved into one of the world's biggest running collectives. With more than 2,000 branches, you can find Hash House Harriers in almost all the world's major cities.
So how did a bunch of beer-swilling runners make this happen?
Measles was eliminated in the year 2000 from the United States, but a lot can change in a few years. Today, the Centers For Disease Control And Prevention says the infection rate is at a 20-year high for measles. There have been 288 cases reported for the first five months of 2014. A couple of weeks ago we spoke to William Schaffner, who teaches preventive medicine at the Vanderbilt University, about this very issue and he told us the huge factor in the outbreak is a lack of vaccinations.
At a church in South Dallas, in one of the poorest parts of town, the room is packed with hundreds of couples. They're sitting, holding hands and staring into each other's eyes.
Their hosts, multi-millionaire couple Harville Hendrix and Helen LaKelly Hunt, are on a mission: to save marriages. They're trying to saturate the city with relationship counseling at workshops like this one, aiming to reach couples who wouldn't or couldn't otherwise afford to attend conventional marriage counseling.
There are smartphone apps for monitoring your diet, your drugs, even your heart. And now a Michigan psychiatrist is developing an app he hopes doctors will someday use to predict when a manic episode is imminent in patients with bipolar disorder.
People with the disorder alternate between crushing depression and wild manic episodes that come with the dangerous mix of uncontrollable energy and impaired judgment.
Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki apologized for lengthy waits at VA facilities, saying he's ousting the leaders of a VA hospital in Phoenix, Ariz., after stories about delays in care there. Shinseki's decision to resign marks a muddy end to an illustrious career, which began when he joined the Army nearly five decades ago.
This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block.
ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:
And I'm Robert Siegel. Gen. Eric Shinseki is out as the Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs. That comes after bipartisan calls for his resignation and growing outrage over scheduling from the VA health system. NPR White House correspondent Tamara Keith reports.
Delays in health care for veterans led to the resignation of Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki Friday. And the health system for active duty military has also come under the microscope for lapses in care.
We told you about lawmakers' proposal to give some school districts a way to temporarily opt out of the new, federal healthy school lunch standards.
The waiver provision was put forward by Alabama Republican Robert Aderholt, who says he supports healthy meals for school kids, but has heard complaints from schools in his district about the challenges of mandating kids to eat more fruits, vegetables and whole grains at lunch.
Good morning, let's hear more now about the resignation of Eric Shinseki, Secretary of Veterans Affairs. President Obama says he accepted that resignation a short time ago at the White House. He had just finished making a statement after the two men held a short private meeting. The President Shinseki's resignation has been accepted partly for political reasons, in that he says it would be politically difficult for Shinseki to focus on the questions at hand for the VA.
The painful disease has been around for centuries but began a dramatic upswing in the 1980s. In the Americas alone, the annual number of cases has boomed from 520,000 in 2003 to 2.3 million in 2013. With the World Cup coming up in mid-June, host country Brazil is frantically battling the mosquitoes that carry dengue (pronounced DENG-gey).