The health care fix announced by President Obama on Thursday may be good news for some consumers, but it creates a big headache for insurance companies and regulators. An insurance industry trade group warns the last-minute change could destabilize the market and lead to higher premiums.
Google won a key victory in a nearly decade-long lawsuit over fair use of the collections of works at the New York Public Library, the Library of Congress and various other university libraries. A U.S. circuit court judge in Manhattan found Google's project to digitally copy millions of books for online searches does not violate copyright law.
NPR's Laura Sydell reports.
LAURA SYDELL, BYLINE: Google began scanning books back in 2004, many of the works were by living authors.
If a video game fan in your office calls in sick to work today, it may be because the new PlayStation 4 went on sale this morning. It is Sony's first new PlayStation home console in seven years. And next week, Microsoft follows it up with a new Xbox. Each of these devices has its own marketing strategy. PlayStation is promoting itself for games - as you might expect. Xbox wants you to think of the console as something much more.
While the health law's insurance markets are still struggling to get off the ground, the Obama administration is moving ahead with its second year of meting out bonuses and penalties to hospitals based on the quality of their care. This year, there are more losers than winners.
Medicare has raised payment rates to 1,231 hospitals based on two-dozen quality measurements, including surveys of patient satisfaction and — for the first time — death rates. Another 1,451 hospitals are being paid less for each Medicare patient they treat for the year that began Oct. 1.
Robert Shiller was surprised when he got the call telling him he'd won the Nobel Memorial Prize in economics — surprised that he'd won (of course), but also surprised that he was sharing the award with Eugene Fama.
"He and I seem to have very different views," Shiller told me. "It's like we're different religions."
In particular, they have very different views about economic bubbles.
"The word 'bubble' drives me nuts, frankly," Fama told me.
Food labels have become battlegrounds. Just last week, voters in Washington state narrowly defeated a measure that would have required food manufacturers to reveal whether their products contain genetically modified ingredients.
Supporters of the initiative — and similar proposals in other states — say that consumers have a right to know what they're eating.
But there are lots of things we might want to know about our food. So what belongs on the label?
Originally published on Wed November 20, 2013 2:00 pm
As the young U.S. senator takes the oath to become president, he sets out to fix an economy struggling with rising unemployment, slumping profits and depressed stock prices.
He knows the deep recession could prevent him from advancing his broader domestic and diplomatic agenda. Yes — all true for President Obama.
But that's what John F. Kennedy faced as well. On his frosty Inauguration Day in January 1961, Kennedy had to start fulfilling his campaign pledge to "get America moving again." Like Obama, he would need to win over a deeply skeptical business community.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.
AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:
And I'm Audie Cornish.
Janet Yellen took another historic step today on the road to becoming the first woman to head Federal Reserve. Appearing calm and comfortable in the spotlight at her first confirmation hearing, Yellen answered questions about the Fed's controversial stimulus program, it's efforts to reduce unemployment and her commitment to controlling inflation.
Originally published on Thu November 14, 2013 3:58 pm
Janet Yellen cleared a key hurdle Thursday, as her confirmation hearing to become the next chair of the Federal Reserve went smoothly. There were only a few snags in roughly two hours of questions and discussions between Yellen and members of the Senate banking committee.
Many of the senators lauded Yellen's extensive experience, as well as her adherence to views they heard her discuss in private meetings on Capitol Hill in recent weeks.
Originally published on Thu November 14, 2013 8:28 am
As Federal Reserve Vice Chairman Janet Yellen prepares to tell the Senate Banking Committee that she supports continuing the central bank's policy of buying billions of dollars' worth of bonds to boost the economy, there's fresh evidence that the relatively slow economic recovery continues to be ... relatively slow.
Originally published on Thu November 14, 2013 8:23 am
The Securities and Exchange Commission and the U.S. attorney's office in Brooklyn, N.Y., are looking into $1.8 million that JPMorgan Chase paid to a two-person firm in China from 2006 to 2008, The New York Times reports.
This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.
STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:
And I'm Steve Inskeep. Let's hear next from a defender of Obamacare, the Affordable Care Act. Democratic Congressman Henry Waxman of California is on the line. Congressman, welcome back to the program.
REPRESENTATIVE HENRY WAXMAN: Thank you. Pleased to be with you.
Allegations that Miami Dolphins players harassed one of their own teammates got us thinking about other subtle forms of intimidation that can happen in the workplace. One out of every three people report being bullied on the job. That's according to a survey done by the Workplace Bullying Institute. Its director, Gary Namie, spoke to NPR's Linda Wertheimer. He told her bullying happens across income levels but that it's more likely to occur in particular professions.
The first woman to be nominated to head the Federal Reserve takes the witness chair on Capitol Hill Thursday morning for her confirmation hearing. Janet Yellen's challenge will be to reassure her Democratic supporters that she's focused on job creation, while convincing at least a few Republicans that she'll keep inflation in check.
The Obama administration says just about 100,000 people managed to choose health plans through the federal and state health exchanges during their first month of the program. Critics say that shows the law is failing. But most analysts say the first month's numbers wouldn't have meant very much, even if the federal website had been working properly.
Bitcoin is an online currency backed by nothing except faith that others will accept it. A young American couple wondered how far could they could push it. The Wall Street Journal reports the couple traveled to three continents, and managed to persuade merchants everywhere to accept the currency. Almost everywhere — they did go hungry for a night in Stockholm.
Steve Inskeep talks to Gregory Zuckerman, a senior writer with The Wall Street Journal, about how the fracking boom has given the U.S. power in pushing for an agreement with Iran on its nuclear weapons program. Zuckerman is the author of The Frackers: The Outrageous Inside Story of the New Billionaire Wildcatters.
Rosarito, Mexico, near the U.S. border in the Mexican state of Baja California, is home to thousands of Americans who live there full or part time, many in properties with long-term leases. A proposed change to Mexican law would allow foreigners outright ownership of Mexican beachfront properties.
Credit Alejandro Cabrera / Flickr
For nearly a century, foreigners have been prohibited from owning Mexican land within 31 miles of the coastline or 62 miles of an international border.
For the first time in nearly a century, Mexico is considering letting foreigners own land outright along the coast and near international borders. Right now, only Mexicans can hold the title to land in the so-called restricted zone. The president and many lawmakers want to relax the ownership laws in hopes of spurring a wave of foreign investment in the country.
But others are crying foul and reviving nationalistic fears of foreign invasion and domination that incited enactment of the law so many years ago.
The big numbers out today are the administration's counts of how many people actually enrolled in health exchanges between Oct. 1 and Nov. 2. More than 106,000 Americans selected health plans in the first month, the government said.
Originally published on Wed November 13, 2013 4:47 pm
More than 106,000 Americans selected health plans in the first reporting period of open enrollment for the new health insurance marketplace, according to data released Wednesday by the Department of Health and Human Services.
That number is only "about 20 percent of the government's October target," as NPR's Scott Horsley reports for our Newscast unit.
Less than 27,000 people used the federal HealthCare.gov site to select a plan. The overall number includes enrollments made via federal and state marketplaces from Oct. 1 to Nov. 2, the agency says.
When you think of recycling, you probably think of cans, plastic bottles and newspapers. Well, think a little bigger.
There are businesses devoted to recycling metal, paper, plastic, oil, textiles, cell phones, computers, motors, batteries, Christmas lights, cars and more. The hidden world of globalized recycling and reclamation, and its impact on the environment and the global economy, is the subject of the new book Junkyard Planet by journalist Adam Minter.
Originally published on Wed November 13, 2013 2:51 pm
(This post was updated at 4:40 p.m. ET)
How did TV's most storied newsmagazine make such a huge mistake? And why won't they explain exactly what happened?
Those are the questions left unanswered days after 60 Minutes correspondent Lara Logan and CBS News Chairman Jeff Fager retracted an Oct. 27 story about the terrorist attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya, that featured a suspect source: government contractor Dylan Davies.
Originally published on Wed November 13, 2013 5:07 am
The computer coders who made healthcare.gov may not have had the best of e-commerce in mind. The site looks like something melded together by a dozen government bureaucracies, and is so bad, it's driven away online shoppers. But a group of coders in Silicon Valley says it doesn't have to be this way. They've created healthsherpa.com.
Originally published on Thu November 14, 2013 12:57 pm
In Washington this week, calls to fix the problem of people getting insurance cancellation notices are getting louder and coming from all sides. But turning back the clock on health insurance cancellations turns out to be a lot harder than it sounds.