Health Desk

Health
11:09 am
Mon December 2, 2013

Black Churches And HIV: 'Sex Is A Reality ... We Gotta Deal With It'

Originally published on Mon December 2, 2013 11:15 am

African-Americans are the racial group most affected by HIV in the U.S., and many black churches are stepping in to do something about it. Pastor Timothy Sloan of Texas talks with host Michel Martin about destigmatizing the disease from the pulpit.

Shots - Health News
9:00 am
Mon December 2, 2013

Uninsured Fret About Getting Health Coverage By New Year's Day

For Tambra Momi, who has Dercum's disease, health coverage can't come soon enough.
Courtesy of Tambra Momi

Originally published on Mon December 2, 2013 11:07 am

Tambra Momi has been eagerly awaiting the promise of guaranteed health insurance.

Since 2011, she has battled Dercum's disease, a rare and painful condition in which noncancerous tumors sprout throughout her body, pressing against nerves.

Jobless and in a wheelchair, Momi needs nine different drugs, including one costing $380 a month, to control the pain and side effects. No insurer has been willing to cover her, she says, except a few that have taken her money and then refused to pay for her medications.

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Health Desk
7:18 am
Mon December 2, 2013

Downstate Cancer Rates Higher

A new study shows cancer rates are higher in downstate Illinois.  Smoking may be the reason.   

A report from the Southern Illinois University School of Medicine and the Illinois Department of  Public Health of public health says the southern two thirds of Illinois have higher cancer rates and lower survival rates than those in the northern part.  The study looks at two decades worth of cancer statistics.  SIU Med School's David Steward says the likely culprit is lung cancer, which is especially higher in Men.

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Politics
3:50 am
Mon December 2, 2013

White House Confident Insurance Website Is Working Better

Originally published on Mon December 2, 2013 12:27 pm

In this, the first week of December, the Obama administration says it has met its self-imposed deadline of fixing the troubled healthcare.gov web site. And it says people should be able to sign up for health insurance. So, is it fixed and when will we know for sure?

Shots - Health News
1:54 am
Mon December 2, 2013

Parents Of Sleep-Deprived Teens Push For Later School Start Times

Maggie Starbard / NPR

Originally published on Tue December 3, 2013 4:32 pm

Cristina Sevin knows the drill. Her 15-year-old son Isaac's first alarm goes off at 6:05 a.m.

When he sleeps right through it, Mom starts the nudging. But she also has to wake up 16-year-old Lily. She flips on the bedroom lights. "Lily, you gotta get up!"

They have to be out the door before 6:35 a.m. in their Annapolis, Md., neighborhood in order to catch the bus for a 7:17 school start. "I wish I didn't have to be awake right now," says Lily.

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Shots - Health News
1:53 am
Mon December 2, 2013

School Stress Takes A Toll On Health, Teens And Parents Say

Colleen Frainey, 16, of Tualatin, Ore., cut back on advanced placement classes in her junior year because the stress was making her physically ill.
Toni Greaves for NPR

Originally published on Tue December 3, 2013 4:35 pm

When high school junior Nora Huynh got her report card, she was devastated to see that she didn't get a perfect 4.0.

Nora "had a total meltdown, cried for hours," her mother, Jennie Huynh of Alameda, Calif., says. "I couldn't believe her reaction."

Nora is doing college-level work, her mother says, but many of her friends are taking enough advanced classes to boost their grade-point averages above 4.0. "It breaks my heart to see her upset when she's doing so awesome and going above and beyond."

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All Tech Considered
4:59 pm
Sun December 1, 2013

The Key Test For HealthCare.gov Is The Part You Can't See

The consumer-facing part of HealthCare.gov is working more smoothly, but how well the invisible back-end is working is unclear.
NPR

Originally published on Sun December 1, 2013 6:55 pm

Calling the improvements "night and day" from October, the Obama administration says it has met its goal of getting the troubled HealthCare.gov site working for a "vast majority" of users. But that's only part of a complex technology system that is designed to end with insurance companies providing coverage for millions of consumers.

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Health Care
7:24 am
Sun December 1, 2013

Humana Invites Mississippians Onto The Health Care Bus

Originally published on Sun December 1, 2013 1:25 pm

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Mississippi is one of those states with a large number of uninsured, yet only a fraction of people have signed up for coverage. Some of the problems are related to the website, but it's also been a challenge to just get the word out. So, to get people onboard, one insurance company decided to take enrollment on the road. Jeffrey Hess with Mississippi Public Broadcasting reports on the insurance buses now rolling across the state.

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Health Care
7:24 am
Sun December 1, 2013

Is Health Care Website Ready To Roll?

Originally published on Sun December 1, 2013 1:25 pm

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Rachel Martin. While many Americans are enjoying a four-day holiday this weekend, computer programmers have been working furiously to meet a White House deadline to improve the government's troubled Affordable Care Act website. As of today, most of the fixes were supposed to be done, meaning the site can handle as many as 50,000 users at once. In a press conference this morning, the administration declared victory. Here's Jeff Zeints of the White House.

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Health Care
4:08 pm
Sat November 30, 2013

White House Optimistic At Deadline To Fix Obamacare

The Obama administration set a self-imposed deadline of the end of November to have the major kinks worked out in HealthCare.gov, the website at the center of implementation for the Affordable Care Act. In the hours before its deadline, the site was taken offline for repairs. But the White House says the site is in much better shape than it was two months ago, when it launched and promptly failed to work for most users.

Health Care
6:31 am
Sat November 30, 2013

3 Stories From HealthCare.gov Users

Originally published on Sat November 30, 2013 9:21 am

The experience has been mixed for three people who signed on to the website to buy insurance. Scott Simon asks an office manager, a family therapist and a social media manager if they think the process has improved.

Health Care
6:31 am
Sat November 30, 2013

How Will We Know If HealthCare.gov Is Fixed?

Health care specialist Stacy Chagolla helps William Bishop compare plans at an Affordable Care Act enrollment fair in Pasadena, Calif., this month.
David McNew Getty Images

Originally published on Sat November 30, 2013 2:51 pm

Saturday is the day the Obama administration set as its deadline for making HealthCare.gov a "smooth experience" for most users.

A tech-savvy team of engineers, database architects and contractors has been working through the holiday to ensure the White House makes good on that promise, but judging the success of their efforts may take some time.

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Health Care
6:22 am
Sat November 30, 2013

A New Worry Looms Online For The Affordable Care Act

Insurance companies say they are finding numerous mistakes on a digital form that's essential for signing up through HealthCare.gov.
AP

Originally published on Sat November 30, 2013 2:13 pm

Saturday is the day the Obama administration promised it would have HealthCare.gov working smoothly for the majority of people who need to sign up for health insurance.

As the Obama administration scrambles to fix the glitch-plagued site, experts are beginning to worry about another problem that may further impair the rollout of the Affordable Care Act.

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Shots - Health News
5:07 pm
Fri November 29, 2013

Popping A Baby Out Like A Cork, And Other Birth Innovations

The Odon Device was inspired by a YouTube video about how to remove a cork from the inside of a wine bottle.
The Odon Device

Originally published on Mon December 2, 2013 3:59 pm

An invention to help with obstructed labor has turned some heads — and not just because the idea came from a party trick on YouTube.

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Health
1:55 pm
Fri November 29, 2013

As HealthCare.Gov's Deadline Approaches, What Will Be Ready?

Originally published on Fri November 29, 2013 5:49 pm

Transcript

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Ari Shapiro. Tomorrow is judgment day for healthcare.gov. The Obama administration has repeatedly said that by November 30, the troubled website will be up and running for the vast majority of users, and officials say they're on track to reach that goal.

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Health Care
4:25 am
Fri November 29, 2013

Health Care Frustrations Turn Into Satisfaction For Ga. Man

Originally published on Fri November 29, 2013 10:42 am

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

Now, we'll introduce you to someone who did successfully sign up for insurance on HealthCare.gov. Michael Lappin of Atlanta, Georgia had a reason to shop for insurance early. His husband has health care needs that made buying their insurance on the individual market difficult and expensive.

Jim Burress, from WABE in Atlanta, profiles the small business owner.

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Health Care
4:10 am
Fri November 29, 2013

Sex, Alcohol Used To Sell Health Insurance In Colorado

Originally published on Fri November 29, 2013 10:42 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

And here's one take on how the Affordable Care Act might be doing some good. It'll save young adults money - cash which they can then use to buy liquor and birth control. That's part of the message from a provocative new ad campaign in Colorado. In this encore broadcast, Eric Whitney has that story.

ERIC WHITNEY, BYLINE: You know your ad campaign's having an impact when a U.S. congressman is haranguing a White House cabinet secretary about it at a hearing on Capitol Hill.

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Health Care
4:10 am
Fri November 29, 2013

Shopping Online For Health Exchanges Not Perfect Yet

Originally published on Fri November 29, 2013 10:42 am

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Linda Wertheimer.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

And I'm David Greene. Good morning. We hope many of you are enjoying some time off for Thanksgiving, maybe doing some shopping, but meanwhile work is continuing on the website for the federal health care exchanges.

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Health Care
3:35 pm
Thu November 28, 2013

Obama Team Hopes Thanksgiving Table Talk Turns To Health Care

Ari Shapiro talks to Karen Pollitz, senior fellow at the Kaiser Family Foundation, about Affordable Care Act talk at the Thanksgiving table. How will parents make their case? And will more people sign up over the long weekend?

Shots - Health News
3:02 pm
Thu November 28, 2013

Breaking Up With HealthCare.gov Is Hard To Do

Lara Imler has tried to cancel her enrollment on HealthCare.gov, but to no avail.
Annie Feidt Alaska Public Radio Network

Originally published on Thu November 28, 2013 3:43 pm

Enrolling in HealthCare.gov is not easy, and it's been particularly difficult in Alaska. Just 53 people enrolled in the first month.

Anchorage hair stylist Lara Imler is one of the few who got through, as we previously reported. But Imler discovered problems with her application, and now she wants to cancel her enrollment.

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Shots - Health News
1:03 pm
Thu November 28, 2013

Brain Cells 'Geotag' Memories To Cache What Happened — And Where

Benjamin Arthur for NPR

Originally published on Mon December 2, 2013 5:13 am

Think back to an important event in your life: a graduation, a birth, a special Thanksgiving dinner. Chances are you're remembering not only what happened, but also where it happened. And now scientists think they know why.

As we form so-called episodic memories, the brain appears to be using special cells in the hippocampus to "geotag" each event, researchers report in Science. The process is similar to what some digital cameras do when they tag each picture with information about where the image was taken.

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The Salt
10:31 am
Thu November 28, 2013

Why We Give Thanks For The Health Benefits Of Cranberries

Zac Visco for NPR

Originally published on Thu November 28, 2013 8:08 pm

Many of us sitting down for Thanksgiving feasts today have made cranberries a part of our holiday table. And from a health perspective, those bitter, bright red berries should be on your list of things to be thankful for.

As my colleague Allison Aubrey has previously reported, the Pilgrims believed that cranberries could cure scurvy. They were wrong on their reasoning but right on the cure: The berries are packed with vitamin C.

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All Tech Considered
9:03 am
Thu November 28, 2013

HealthCare.gov Team Working Through Holiday To Meet Deadline

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius visits navigators helping enroll people on HealthCare.gov.
Lynne Sladky AP

Originally published on Sun December 1, 2013 3:07 pm

Besides movie theaters and Wal-Mart, one place that will stay open this Thanksgiving is the new HealthCare.gov "exchange operations center." Staffers on the "tech surge" to fix the error-riddled site have just days to meet the Obama administration's self-imposed deadline for a functioning site.

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Shots - Health News
8:08 am
Thu November 28, 2013

After The Cranberries And Pie, Let's Talk About Death

What seemed like a burden can become a gift.
iStockphoto

On Thanksgiving morning I'll be making pies with my mom, just as I have ever since I was a girl. But at some point I know we'll be talking about more than shortening versus butter. We'll be talking about how she would like to die.

A few months ago my mom fell at home and ended up being admitted to the ICU with four broken ribs and internal injuries. She was lucky. After two weeks in the hospital and a few more in a rehab unit, she's back home, using her new blue walker to get around.

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Shots - Health News
3:30 pm
Wed November 27, 2013

Small-Business Access To Online Health Exchanges Delayed Again

Small employers can still enroll in Affordable Care Act coverage through insurers or brokers, but not through the online exchanges.
iStockphoto

The Obama administration is delaying yet again online signup for small businesses through the Affordable Care Act. The program was intended to make it easier for small employers to provide health insurance to their workers on a more equal footing with big business.

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Health
3:24 pm
Wed November 27, 2013

With November Ending, Taking Stock Of HealthCare.gov's Progress

Originally published on Mon December 2, 2013 9:04 am

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Audie Cornish.

President Obama pardoned a Thanksgiving turkey today. Now the question is whether the government's new health insurance website will also get a reprieve. After a disastrous rollout eight weeks ago, the White House says it's on track to have the site working smoothly for most users by this weekend. Many consumers say they have seen improvements to the site. But others are still hitting roadblocks.

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Shots - Health News
3:08 pm
Wed November 27, 2013

Booming Demand For Donated Breast Milk Raises Safety Issues

Madison Fitzgerald, 20, holds her baby, Jake, in the neonatal intensive care unit at Texas Children's Hospital in Houston. Jake, who was born 16 weeks too early, receives donor breast milk every three hours by mouth.
Carrie Feibel/KUHF

Originally published on Mon December 2, 2013 9:04 am

The public health message that "breast is best" has been received loud and clear. More mothers in the U.S. are breast-feeding, and they're doing so longer than ever.

But those simple facts hide a complicated world where passions about breast milk run high, and demand has skyrocketed.

Women who have extra milk are intensively courted, by hospitals who need the breast milk for premature babies and by moms who can't nurse their own babies and don't want to use formula.

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The Salt
2:57 pm
Wed November 27, 2013

Did Your Thanksgiving Turkey Take Any Antibiotics?

Turkeys sit in a barn in Sonoma, Calif. An estimated 46 million turkeys are cooked and eaten during Thanksgiving meals in the U.S.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Wed November 27, 2013 6:02 pm

In our series Pharmed Food, we've been looking closely at how the livestock industry in the U.S. uses antibiotics, and what that might mean for human health.

And so as Americans prepare to roast and baste plump, juicy holiday birds, we couldn't help but wonder what antibiotics the average turkey might have been given.

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Shots - Health News
2:42 pm
Wed November 27, 2013

In Rural Iowa, Distance Makes Health Care Sign-Ups A Challenge

Insurance help isn't easy to find in many Iowa counties.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Mon December 2, 2013 9:05 am

Broadlawns Medical Center has been serving low-income residents of Des Moines, Iowa, and the surrounding countryside for decades. Now there's a twist in Broadlawns' mission as a public hospital: helping people sign up for insurance under the Affordable Care Act.

On a recent Saturday morning, Jerrine Sanford traveled half an hour from the small town of Runnells to get her insurance questions answered at a hospital-run event.

Sanford, 47, is out of work because of a back injury. She's worried about the law's requirement that everyone have health insurance or pay a penalty.

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The Two-Way
2:04 pm
Wed November 27, 2013

Small Businesses Get One-Year Delay In Health Insurance Process

Originally published on Wed November 27, 2013 6:29 pm

The Obama administration announced it is delaying until November 2014 a requirement that small businesses shop for health insurance via the troubled federal HealthCare.gov site, which has been blamed for many problems since its launch last month. The shift applies to businesses with fewer than 50 full-time workers.

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