Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius took to Capitol Hill this week to try and explain the botched rollout of the website that is central to implementation of the Affordable Care Act. And despite apologies and mea culpas, the Obama administration is dealing with new questions about its grasp of technology — and even about the president's veracity.
Thirty or so attendees at St. Mary Primitive Baptist Church in Tallahassee, Fla., gathered on a recent evening to hear a presentation by the Obamacare Enrollment Team on their options to get insurance under the Affordable Care Act.
"If anybody is interested in getting enrolled, we can get you enrolled tonight," they were told.
Signs outside the church looked official: A familiar, large "O" with a blue outline, white center and three red stripes.
Consumers shopping for coverage on the new health insurance exchanges have been focused on the lowest-cost options. But some shoppers are trying to determine which plans offer the widest array of doctors and hospitals — and are finding that can be trickier than it sounds.
John Batteiger applied for insurance coverage on the New York state exchange. But after he'd selected a plan, he had second thoughts: He'd forgotten to check if the plan he picked included a hospital near him.
When the federal health exchange marketplace opened Oct. 1, we visited jazz musician Suzanne Cloud in Philadelphia. She tried to start an account early in the morning, but technology thwarted her plans.
She wasn't alone, as it became clear quickly that the unprecedented system for Americans in 36 states to shop and enroll for health insurance was broken in several places. A week into her failed attempts, Cloud stayed positive.
Originally published on Mon November 4, 2013 3:02 pm
When Mike Napoli got up to bat in Game 6 of the World Series, my first thought was, "Oh my goodness, that beard is awful." But after the Red Sox's first baseman laid off a few bad pitches, I started liking the hair on his chin.
All that got me thinking about beards.
Sometime during evolution women lost their facial hair. This strong difference between the sexes implies that facial furriness, or the lack thereof, has played a role in how we picked our partners, at least at one point in human history.
I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Now it's time for our weekly visit to the Barbershop where the guys talk about what's in the news and what's on their minds. Sitting in the chairs for a shape-up this week are writer Jimi Izrael with us from Cleveland. Joining us from Boston, healthcare consultant and contributor to National Review magazine, Dr. Neil Minkoff. Here in our Washington, D.C. studios, Dave Zirin. He is sports editor at The Nation. And Corey Dade is a contributing editor for The Root. Take it away Jimi.
I'm Michel Martin, and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Coming up, the men's pro-basketball season is jumping off this week, and the Barbershop guys will talk about their pics and if anybody has got what it takes to stop the Miami Heat from a three-peat. But first, it's time for Faith Matters. That's the part of the program where we talk about matters of faith and spirituality.
"There is real danger of a disconnect between what's on your business card and who you are deep inside, and it's not a disconnect that the world is ready to be patient with." — Alain de Botton
Success has become synonymous with financial wealth, influence and status. But can we define success in another way — one that welcomes a broader range of accomplishment? It may not be as obvious as you think. In this hour, TED speakers share ideas for what makes us successful.
Alain de Botton examines our ideas of success and failure — and questions the assumptions underlying these two judgments. He makes an eloquent, witty case to move beyond snobbery to find true pleasure in our work.
Originally published on Fri November 15, 2013 9:13 am
A few years ago, cognitive scientist Duje Tadin and his colleague Randolph Blake decided to test blindfolds for an experiment they were cooking up.
They wanted an industrial-strength blindfold to make sure volunteers for their work wouldn't be able to see a thing. "We basically got the best blindfold you can get." Tadin tells Shots. "It's made of black plastic, and it should block all light."
In a barn outside Manhattan, Kan., researchers from Kansas State University are trying to solve the riddle of bovine respiratory disease. They're sticking plastic rods down the noses of 6-month old calves, collecting samples of bacteria.
As if the rollout of the federal health law didn't have enough problems, abortion is back in the spotlight.
How the various health plans in the exchanges would or would not pay for abortion was one of the very last issues settled before the bill was passed in 2010. Now abortion's invisibility on the federal HealthCare.gov website has some people pretty upset.
Getting young, healthy people to sign up for health insurance is seen as critical to the success of the Affordable Care Act. It's precisely those people who will help offset the cost of the older, sicker ones.
But while cheap health insurance and subsidies based on income are intended to make the program appealing to the young, what if they haven't even heard of the health care law? Or don't want to buy even an inexpensive policy?
Originally published on Fri November 1, 2013 5:06 am
More than 47 million Americans who receive food stamps will be getting a bit less starting Friday when a temporary benefit enacted as part of the federal stimulus expires.
The Department of Agriculture, which runs the Supplemental Nutrition and Assistance Program, or SNAP, as the food stamp program is formally known, says a family of four receiving $668 per month in benefits will see that amount cut by $36. One in 7 Americans receives food stamps.
The Obama administration is defending the Affordable Care Act over its faulty website, and reports that Americans are losing insurance coverage because of the law. To sort out the truth from the rumors, host Michel Martin speaks with Mary Agnes Carey of Kaiser Health News and technology developer Clay Johnson.
Breast Cancer Awareness Month in the U.S. is a fanfare of pink paraphernalia. But in developing nations like Uganda, cancer is stigmatized to the point that families often lie about their loved one's cause of death. Host Michel Martin speaks with journalist Joanne Silberner about her award-winning reporting on cancer around the world.
Sesame Street is waiving licensing fees for two years so its characters can join forces with the Produce Marketing Association and first lady Michelle Obama's campaign against childhood obesity. On Thursday, Sesame Street's Rosita and Elmo announced the partnership with the first lady.
To the long list of problems plaguing HealthCare.gov, add data security. The enrollment site for the new health insurance exchanges had a security flaw that didn't get patched up when the exchange marketplace went live.
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month; during the fall veto session, doctors traveled to Springfield to show state legislators how 3D mammography (the scientific term is tomosynthesis) works, and its benefits.
One person who got a letter canceling his health insurance was Rep. Cory Gardner, R-Colo. He holds up the letter during a congressional hearing Wednesday on insurance problems. He says his family chose to buy private insurance rather than use the congressional plan.
President Obama repeated this line or a variation of it many times during the campaign to pass his landmark health care bill: "If you like your health care plan, you'll be able to keep your health care plan, period."
But while that might be true for people who get health insurance through their employer, it's not true for many people who buy their policies in the individual market — about 5 percent of the nation's policyholders.