Health Desk

Business
4:06 am
Fri October 4, 2013

Part-Time Workers Search New Exchanges For Health Insurance

The specialty grocer Trader Joe's says next year it will end its policy of offering health benefits for part-time workers. Instead, the store will offer part-timers cash to help buy coverage.
Bloomberg via Getty Images

Originally published on Fri October 4, 2013 3:26 pm

Across the U.S., many part-time workers have joined the millions shopping for coverage in the new health care marketplace. Some are uninsured. Others are being pushed into the new exchanges because their employers — companies that include Trader Joe's and Home Depot — decided to drop coverage for part-timers.

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Analysis
4:06 am
Fri October 4, 2013

Ready Or Not, 'Obamacare' Rolls Out As Planned

Originally published on Fri October 4, 2013 9:36 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And all of that happened yesterday in what has been a charged week at the Capitol. Republicans in the House stuck to their demands to defund the Affordable Care Act and parts of the government remain shut down.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

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Shots - Health News
5:37 pm
Thu October 3, 2013

Some Online Journals Will Publish Fake Science, For A Fee

You could do all that brain work. Or you could make it up.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Fri October 4, 2013 9:34 am

Many online journals are ready to publish bad research in exchange for a credit card number.

That's the conclusion of an elaborate sting carried out by Science, a leading mainline journal. The result should trouble doctors, patients, policymakers and anyone who has a stake in the integrity of science (and who doesn't?).

The business model of these "predatory publishers" is a scientific version of those phishes from Nigerians who want help transferring a few million dollars into your bank account.

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The Salt
5:01 pm
Thu October 3, 2013

CDC: Shutdown Strains Foodborne Illness Tracking

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's PulseNet service monitors clusters of sickness linked to potentially dangerous strains of foodborne pathogens such as E.coli or salmonella.
Reed Saxon AP

Originally published on Fri October 4, 2013 10:38 am

As we reported Tuesday, the government shutdown is pushing the nation's food safety system to its limits.

For instance, there is normally a team of eight people overseeing the critical foodborne illness tracking database PulseNet. This team identifies clusters of sickness linked to potentially dangerous strains of pathogens such as E. coli or salmonella.

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Shots - Health News
4:46 pm
Thu October 3, 2013

Insurance Brokers Look For Relevance As Health Exchanges Grow

Tim Hebert, an insurance broker in Fort Collins, Colo., says he expects that the health care law will wind up being good for his business.
Kara Donahoe Courtesy of Tim Hebert

Originally published on Fri October 4, 2013 10:38 am

When states and the federal government rolled out online marketplaces to help people buy health insurance on Tuesday, you'd think that old-fashioned insurance brokers would have been worried.

All told about $200 million is being spent on a new army of people to help consumers find their way. These navigators, guides or assisters, as they're called, would seem to threaten the business of traditional brokers.

Many brokers work for small independent businesses. So are brokers at risk of becoming the next travel agents, whose ranks were thinned by online shopping?

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Shots - Health News
1:57 pm
Thu October 3, 2013

Medicaid Looks Good To A Former Young Invincible

Brad Stevens used to think he didn't need health insurance.
Sarah Varney

Originally published on Fri October 4, 2013 10:38 am

Have you heard about the young invincibles? That's the name given to young people who think nothing bad can happen to them.

Enrollment of healthy people like them in insurance under the Affordable Care Act is key to offsetting the costs of older, less healthy buyers.

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The Salt
11:22 am
Thu October 3, 2013

How's The Sausage Made? These Folks Really Want To Share The Knowledge

Brent Gentry of Underground Meats rotates a coppa. Underground Meats is behind a new project that aims to lower the barrier to entry for would-be artisanal meat producers by making it easier for them to craft food safety plans.
Emily Julka Courtesy of Underground Meats

Originally published on Thu October 3, 2013 12:45 pm

With the current bloom of artisanal small-batch producers across the country, you'd think that all you need to start up a new food business is a good idea and a lot of gumption. And for the most part, that's true. But when it comes to artisanal producers working with meat, you also need something else: a Hazards Analysis and Critical Control Points plan. Or, if you will, a HACCP.

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Shots - Health News
4:35 am
Thu October 3, 2013

From Therapy Dogs To New Patients, Federal Shutdown Hits NIH

The Clinical Center at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md.
National Institutes of Health

Originally published on Fri October 4, 2013 12:00 pm

Abbey Whetzel has a 12-year-old son named Sam who has been at the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center in Maryland for over a month. He has leukemia that is no longer treatable. And in this difficult time, one source of joy has been the therapy dogs that come to visit the sick kids.

"They can only come once a week, but it's the highlight of Sam's week," says Whetzel. But this week, she says, her son got some bad news. "They came and stopped in, and told Sam that the therapy dog wouldn't be coming because of the government shutdown."

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Shots - Health News
2:07 am
Thu October 3, 2013

Back To Work After A Baby, But Without Health Insurance

People get information on California's health exchange at a table at Union Station in Los Angeles on Tuesday, the exchange's opening day.
Reed Saxon AP

Originally published on Sat October 5, 2013 8:13 pm

Pardit Pri had health insurance until she decided to quit her job as a legal administrative assistant and stay home with her newborn son 20 months ago. She thought she'd have coverage by now. But it didn't work out that way.

"I knew that I wasn't going to be working for a while because I decided to stay home with my son, and I thought ... 'OK, fingers crossed. Nothing will happen during that time,' " she says, as she plays with her son in their Orange County, Calif., apartment.

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Shots - Health News
2:03 am
Thu October 3, 2013

Studying The Science Behind Child Prodigies

Cellist Matt Haimovitz made it big in the classical music scene as a little kid.
Stephanie Mackinnon

Originally published on Thu October 3, 2013 11:53 am

Matt Haimovitz is 42 and a world-renowned cellist. He rushed into the classical music scene at age 10 after Itzhak Perlman, the famed violinist, heard him play.

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Shots - Health News
1:59 am
Thu October 3, 2013

Small Businesses May Find Insurance Relief In Exchanges

An employee of Covered California works in the newly opened call center in Rancho Cordova, Calif. Covered California is the state's new health insurance exchange.
Rich Pedroncelli AP

Originally published on Thu October 3, 2013 1:11 pm

Walk down the carpeted hallways of Westwind Media in Burbank, Calif., and it's common to hear the odd explosion, the hum of traffic or a burst of gunfire.

It's here in these edit bays that small feature films and TV dramas like the ABC hits Grey's Anatomy and Scandal and CBS's Person of Interest get primped and polished for prime-time viewing.

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Shots - Health News
5:05 pm
Wed October 2, 2013

A DEET-Like Mosquito Spray That Smells Like Jasmine Or Grapes?

Scientists have discovered four new DEET-like mosquito repellents. Three of them are safe to eat.
Courtesy of Pinky Kai/University of California, Riverside

Originally published on Fri October 4, 2013 8:56 am

California scientists are reporting a pair of victories in the epic struggle between man and mosquito.

A team at the University of California, Riverside, appears to have finally figured out how bugs detect the insect repellent known as DEET. And the team used its discovery to identify several chemical compounds that promise to be safer and cheaper than DEET, according to the report in the journal Nature.

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The Salt
3:45 pm
Wed October 2, 2013

Fish Guidelines For Pregnant Women May Be Too Strict, Study Suggests

In a study of 4,000 pregnant women, fish accounted for only 7 percent of blood mercury levels.
JackF iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu October 3, 2013 4:22 pm

The health benefits of eating fish are pretty well-known. A lean source of protein, fish can be a rich source of healthful omega-3 fatty acids and has been shown to benefit heart, eye and brain health.

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Around the Nation
3:24 pm
Wed October 2, 2013

Federal Funds For Meals On Wheels Tied Up In Shutdown

Originally published on Wed October 2, 2013 6:56 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

Nutrition programs that feed the elderly have not been exempted from the closure. For example, Meals on Wheels in Ypsilanti, Michigan. It feeds about 200 elderly clients - most of whom live alone - supplying what for many is their only meal of the day.

ALISON FOREMAN: Our meal today is one of our clients' absolute favorites. It's chili with cornbread and stewed vegetables.

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The Salt
1:57 pm
Wed October 2, 2013

Is It Time To Cool It On Kale Already?

Are we putting too much pressure on this little superfood that could?
Peet Sneekes Flickr

Originally published on Tue October 8, 2013 1:23 pm

Let's start by agreeing to this premise: Kale is very good for you.

And yes, we here at The Salt have been known to indulge in — nay, crave — kale chips and kale salads on a not infrequent basis.

Still, when we found out that Wednesday is National Kale Day — featuring a kale dance party (we kid you not) — we couldn't help but think: Come on, people, the kale love has officially Gone. Too. Far.

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Shots - Health News
1:07 pm
Wed October 2, 2013

Why Eye Contact Can Fail To Win People Over

Eye contact may prove persuasive only if a person's already on your side, a study finds.
iStockphoto.com

Pop psychology holds that to connect with someone, you should look deep into their eyes. The more you look, the more persuasive you'll be. But that may work only when your audience already agrees with you.

Researchers in Germany tested the power of the eye lock by polling university students about their opinions on controversial issues like assisted suicide, nuclear energy and affirmative action in the workplace.

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Health Care
11:12 am
Wed October 2, 2013

Health Care Act Reminds Young Adults They're Not Invincible

Originally published on Wed October 2, 2013 11:45 am

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Michel Martin. Coming up, you've probably heard a lot about the Stand Your Ground law in the death of Trayvon Martin, but you might not have heard about the woman who said she just fired a warning shot at her abusive husband and was sentenced to 20 years in prison. Now her case is getting a second look, and we'll talk about that in just a few minutes.

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Beauty Shop
11:12 am
Wed October 2, 2013

How Important Is Health Care Act To Latinas?

Originally published on Wed October 2, 2013 11:45 am

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

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All Tech Considered
2:27 am
Wed October 2, 2013

Tech Problems Plague First Day Of Health Exchange Rollout

Heavy Internet traffic and system problems plagued the launch of the new health insurance exchanges on Tuesday.
Karen Bleier AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed October 2, 2013 9:35 am

Many Americans got "please wait" messages Tuesday when they tried to start shopping for health coverage on the federal government's new health insurance website, healthcare.gov. A series of technological glitches, delays and crashes kept people from getting to several of the 16 state exchanges, too.

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Shots - Health News
2:24 am
Wed October 2, 2013

Obamacare Day One: A Tale Of Two States

Onita Sanders (right), a certified application counselor at the Southeastern Virginia Health System, helps Virginia resident Brenda Harrell with health coverage options at Enrollfest in Hampton, Va., on Tuesday.
Jenny Gold for NPR

Originally published on Wed October 2, 2013 10:39 am

In a call center in Rancho Cordova, Calif., on Tuesday, all the workers wore the same T-shirt: "Keep Calm And Go Live."

They were ready and waiting to take calls from consumers who could buy health insurance on California's new insurance marketplace for the first time. So the T-shirts urged calm, but the mood was ecstatic and emotional among the architects and key backers who gathered to flip the switch on the Golden State's exchange.

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The Salt
2:23 am
Wed October 2, 2013

Can Millet Take On Quinoa? First, It'll Need A Makeover

This millet field outside Nunn, Colo., is nearing harvest time, when the grain turns from green to a golden color.
Luke Runyon Harvest Public Media

Originally published on Wed October 2, 2013 10:37 am

Walk through a health food store and you'll find amaranth, sorghum, quinoa — heritage grains that have been staples around the world for generations. Americans are just discovering them.

There's another age-old grain that grows right here on the Great Plains: millet.

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Obamacare Politics
6:59 pm
Tue October 1, 2013

Government Shutdown Early Campaign Fodder

Congressman Rodney Davis, a Republican from Taylorville, issued a statement says is "ready and willing to work with my colleagues" until the government reaches a funding agreement.

  A day into the federal government shutdown, it's already turning into campaign fodder for next year's election.

Congressman Rodney Davis is facing competition from both sides as he aims to hold onto his central Illinois seat. The Taylorville Republican is looking at a primary challenge from former Miss America Erika Harold; three candidates are trying for the Democratic nomination: University of Illinois physicist George Gollin, U of I social policy analyst David Green and former Madison County Chief Judge Ann Callis.

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Health Desk
6:13 pm
Tue October 1, 2013

Busy First Day For Illinois Health Exchange

Credit GetCoveredIllinois

More than 69,000 people visited Illinois' new health insurance marketplace by late Tuesday, the first opportunity to comparison shop for
coverage through a system that's a key piece of President Barack Obama's signature health care law. But people hoping to enroll weren't getting much further, as the federally run website experienced glitches and delays.
 
 At a health center on Chicago's west side, workers said their goal for the day
was to get just one person enrolled, but none of the people who came in were

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Shots - Health News
4:53 pm
Tue October 1, 2013

In Florida, Insurer And Nonprofits Work On Enrollment

Nonprofits are looking to help people sign up for insurance coverage in Florida.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue October 1, 2013 6:05 pm

Florida Gov. Rick Scott and other Republican leaders have worked to block the Affordable Care Act since it was first proposed.

As Tuesday's opening of enrollment approached, Florida's Health Department said it wouldn't allow navigators and others to use its offices to educate and counsel people on the new law.

But others are eager to help. "We're ready to serve our community," says Efraim Monzon, director of a Florida Blue retail center in Miami. "We've been ready since 2010 when we heard it was coming."

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Health Desk
3:55 pm
Tue October 1, 2013

Quinn Says Health Marketplace Launch "Historic"

Gov. Pat Quinn

Gov. Pat Quinn says the launch of the health insurance marketplace marks a ``historic'' day that will change the lives of hundreds of thousands of Illinoisans.  
Quinn spoke at a press conference in Chicago on Tuesday, the same day the marketplace opened in Illinois and other states.  
But the federal website where people enroll was experiencing some glitches. Consumers couldn't get beyond initial screens, and some reported waits of 20 minutes on a hotline set up to assist them.  
Quinn says glitches are part of any new endeavor.  

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Shots - Health News
3:37 pm
Tue October 1, 2013

First Step In Health Exchange Enrollment: Train The Helpers

Assisters get up to speed on how best to explain the new health coverage choices during training on Sept. 25 at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, D.C.
Morgan Walker NPR

Originally published on Wed October 2, 2013 1:06 pm

Even as the Affordable Care Act's new health exchanges open for business, polls show the public is still pretty confused about how they're supposed to work.

The latest monthly tracking poll from the Kaiser Family Foundation, in fact, found that two-thirds of those without insurance said they don't have enough information about the law to know how it will affect them.

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Health Care
3:37 pm
Tue October 1, 2013

Health Exchange Day One: A View From California

Originally published on Tue October 1, 2013 5:38 pm

Transcript

PAULINE BARTOLONE, BYLINE: I'm Pauline Bartolone in Sacramento.

California, like Colorado, has been full speed ahead in creating its own health insurance marketplace. Melissa Martinez has been looking forward to using it. She works at home as a consultant. She also lives with an autoimmune disease.

MELISSA MARTINEZ: This last bout of insuring myself it was about $600 a month, and my meds - because I have lupus - are about $600 a month. And so I had to pick one or the other. So I let my insurance go.

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Health Care
3:37 pm
Tue October 1, 2013

Some Snags As Health Exchange Sign Up Starts

Originally published on Tue October 1, 2013 5:38 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

At the White House today, President Obama acknowledged some early hiccups with the government's website where people can compare plans and sign up for coverage.

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Health Care
3:37 pm
Tue October 1, 2013

Ill. Governor Touts Health Exchange Legislature Rejected

Originally published on Tue October 1, 2013 5:38 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And I'm Melissa Block.

Amidst all this talk of a government shutdown, another big story has gotten less attention today. It's the first day people can sign up for health coverage on the new insurance exchanges created by the Affordable Care Act. To get a sense of how things are going, we'll hear several reports throughout the program. In a moment, we'll take you to Florida, where Governor Rick Scott has fought hard against the law.

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Youth Radio
3:26 pm
Tue October 1, 2013

Puberty Is Coming Earlier, But That Doesn't Mean Sex Ed Is

A growing number of children are entering puberty at younger ages — sometimes as young as 6 or 7. But in many schools, sex education classes don't begin before the fifth grade.
Cuneyt Hizal iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu October 17, 2013 4:54 pm

For kids growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area, there's a standard introduction to puberty at many schools: an educational play called Nightmare on Puberty Street.

It's a fictional play, and in it, character Natalie raps about how quickly her body is growing — and how her classmates call her names.

"I didn't pick how my body would grow, and I don't feel normal, 'cause I'm not in control."

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