Monday was yet another troubled day for the Affordable Care Act.
Sunday night, the outside vendor that operates two key parts of the website that lets people browse and sign up for health insurance experienced a failure.
The failure took place at a vendor called Verizon Terremark and presumably affected other clients as well as HealthCare.gov, the federal website that people use to sign up for insurance under the Affordable Care Act.
Originally published on Mon October 28, 2013 4:06 pm
New abortion restrictions passed by the Texas Legislature are unconstitutional, a federal judge ruled Monday in a divisive case the state has already vowed to appeal.
In an opinion issued Monday, District Judge Lee Yeakel said the state's effort to regulate abortions violated the rights of doctors who perform the procedure to do what they determine is best for their patients, and would unreasonably restrict women from accessing abortion clinics.
Anthropologist Lynne Isbell was running through a glade in central Kenya in 1992 when something suddenly caused her to freeze in her tracks. "I stopped just in front of a cobra," she says. "It was raised with its hood spread out."
Isbell, who is at the University of California, Davis, says she has spent the past couple of decades trying to understand how she could have reacted before her conscious brain even had a chance to think — cobra!
Originally published on Mon October 28, 2013 1:06 pm
Oh, what a job. You've got $3 billion to address society's most intractable problems. So what do you do?
If you're philanthropist Howard G. Buffett, son of famed investor Warren Buffett, you set a deadline: 40 years.
And you move at "fast-forward" speed (that's the way Warren describes his son's pace) to steer the most vulnerable people on Earth towards a future where food production is efficient, plentiful and affordable.
Messiah United Methodist Church in Springfield, Va., is unusually busy for a Thursday morning. It's not a typical time for worship, but parishioner Stacy Riggs and her husband have come for something a little different: a medical screening.
It's really only a sliver of time when humans build the bulk of their skeleton. At age 9, the bones start a big growth spurt. And by the time puberty ends, around 14 or 15 years old, the adult-sized skeleton is all but done, about 90 percent complete.
But doctors say a lot of children aren't getting what they need to do that. Calcium and vitamin D are essential, sure, but so is lots of time jumping and running.
Families who can't afford diapers sometimes re-use disposable diapers. That practice leads to many other problems for families living in poverty, according to a Yale study. Host Arun Rath talks with Joanne Goldblum, a social worker and an author of the study. She is also the founder and executive director of the National Diaper Bank Network.
Originally published on Mon October 28, 2013 2:36 pm
The world is close to eliminating polio once and for all.
Just a few decades ago, polio was crippling more than a thousand children each day. Now the paralyzing virus is endemic to only three countries — Afghanistan, Pakistan and Nigeria. And there were just 223 cases globally last year.
Fears of possible listeria contamination are forcing grocery stores in 25 states to pull refrigerated foods from shelves. Taylor Farms of Jessup, Md., is recalling products that include salad kits with packets of dressing due to concerns of a possible contamination, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
NPR's Jim Hawk filed this report for our Newscast unit:
There's little doubt that the Obama administration would like a health care website do-over.
Since its rollout Oct. 1, Obamacare's online insurance exchange sign-up, critical to success of the health care overhaul, has been a well-documented disaster.
The White House, in addition to managing considerable political fallout, also is dealing with a big, fat public relations problem. Just how does the administration go about winning the trust of the American people after the October Obamacare debacle?
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. With the drama of the 17-day government shutdown over, the spotlight returned this week to the troubled rollout of the Obamacare insurance exchanges. Both Republicans and Democrats expressed anger over the crippled HealthCare.gov website during hearings that were conducted this week, but of course there are competing agendas, as there always are.
This has not been an easy month for Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.
Republican Sen. Pat Roberts of Kansas — who learned the political ropes working for Sebelius' father-in-law, then a Kansas congressman — called for her to step down over the debut of HealthCare.gov, the problem-plagued website where people are supposed to apply for coverage under the Affordable Care Act.
Ashley Hentze (left) gets help signing up for the Affordable Care Act from a volunteer in Florida. The government says that 40 percent of the expected enrollees for 2014 must be young and healthy for health insurance premiums to remain affordable.
Relatively few people have enrolled in new health insurance plans since the Affordable Care Act exchanges launched this month. But some health care experts say it's early days yet — and that getting the right proportion of healthy, young new enrollees is just as important as how quickly people sign up.
The Congressional Budget Office projects that 7 million people will buy health insurance for 2014 through the new exchanges, integral to the implementation of the government's new health care law.
Originally published on Mon October 28, 2013 2:39 pm
When I make a wrong turn, the woman's voice in my GPS says, "Route recalculation." Then she tells me how to get back on track.
How I wish this electronic tool could be adapted for men whose wives have breast cancer.
Imagine a device that would help us correct course when we try our best to support the women we love — and inevitably mess up. As a breast cancer husband who did just about everything wrong when my wife was diagnosed, I would have been very grateful for a little back-seat driving.
Originally published on Fri October 25, 2013 2:37 pm
A subcontractor that built a portion of the HealthCare.gov website that's now working relatively well is being promoted to oversee a thorough revamping of the entire glitch-prone portal, and work will be done by the end of next month, the White House says.
President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio talk with reporters at the White House after a meeting about the federal budget deficit and economy in Nov. 2012. Some Republicans have proposed raising the Medicare eligibility age to 67.
This is SCIENCE FRIDAY. I'm Ira Flatow. Craig Venter was the first person to ever create a living thing from scratch, a cell, a bacterium, into which was inserted manmade genetic material - DNA. And for all intents and purposes, it was alive, moving, reproducing. It opened up a whole new world of what he and we now call synthetic biology, creating stuff from genetic code as we need it.
Cotard's syndrome, also known as Walking Corpse Syndrome, is a rare disorder that causes sufferers to believe they are dead. The exact cause is unknown. Doctors Thomas Linden and Andres Hellden describe effects of the syndrome that they observed in patients who took a common antiviral medication.
What makes someone a psychopath? Can these traits be passed through family lines? Neuroscientist James Fallon, and author of The Psychopath Inside: A Neuroscientist's Personal Journey Into the Dark Side of the Brain, discusses his scientific and personal exploration into the antisocial mind.
Eating healthy can be a challenge, especially if you're on a tight budget. Host Michel Martin asks health guru and rapper Stic, of the rap duo Dead Prez, for his suggestions on eating well while on a so-called "hood" budget.
When Joshua Prager was 19, a devastating bus accident left him paralyzed on his left side. He returned to Israel twenty years later to find the driver who turned his world upside down. Prager tells his story and probes deep questions of identity, self-deception and destiny.