Under the Affordable Care Act, more insurance plans are expected to start covering the cost of obesity treatments, including counseling on diet and exercise as well as medications and surgery. These are treatments that most insurance companies don't cover now.
The move is a response to the increasing number of health advocates and medical groups that say obesity should be classified as a disease.
With the launch of new health insurance exchanges just about two weeks away, many of the questions in this month's mailbag focused less on the big picture and more on exactly how the law will operate for individuals.
We can't answer every question we get. But here is a sampling of questions that were really popular, or that would apply to a lot of people.
Five years ago this week, Lehman Brothers collapsed, and America's financial crisis began. On Monday morning, President Obama will mark the anniversary with a speech in the White House Rose Garden. The White House released a new report ahead of the address, assessing how the government's efforts to stabilize the economy turned out.
The county's Twin Towers Correctional Facility in downtown Los Angeles is a hulking, massive concrete structure. It is also part of the largest municipal jail system in the United States.
On a recent day, four men enter handcuffed with a police escort. The sheriff's deputies assign them cells, and for the duration of their sentences, this is home. The men wear bright blue pants and neon yellow shirts to set them apart from other inmates.
Originally published on Mon September 16, 2013 9:01 am
Larry Summers has removed his name from the running to be the next chairman of the Federal Reserve. The former Treasury secretary informed President Obama of his decision in a phone call Sunday. The withdrawal was first reported by The Wall Street Journal.
More than 300 films screened this past week at the Toronto International Film Festival. The Audience Choice Award went to 12 Years A Slave, directed by Steve McQueen. Host Jacki Lyden talks with NPR's Linda Holmes and Bob Mondello about what was hot and what was not.
The songwriter and guitarist Sidi Touré is a superstar in his native Mali. But in the last 18 months, it hasn't been easy for Malian artists.
Islamic extremists are fighting for control of the area around Timbuktu, in the northern part of the country. The violence, along with a rebel-imposed ban on both music and secular art, has forced many of Mali's artists to flee the country.
Sidi Touré, who is from the North, was in the middle of recording his latest album when all this started happening.
Iran's President Hasan Rowhani, who was elected in June, has exchanged lettes with President Obama, the U.S. leader said in an interview that aired Sunday. Here, Rowhani speaks to Iran's Parliament in Tehran.
In the weeks since Iran's President Hasan Rowhani was elected this summer, he and President Obama have swapped letters, Obama says. The U.S. president discussed the exchange for the first time publicly in an interview with George Stephanopoulos that aired on ABC's This Week Sunday.
Protesters gather outside the White House on Tuesday before President Obama addressed the nation about the situation in Syria. Obama said he was asking Congress to delay authorizing a strike on Syria to allow a diplomatic plan to work.
Originally published on Sun September 15, 2013 1:56 pm
Sometimes presidents have to make things up as they go along.
President Obama's decisions have had an improvisational air these past three weeks. His course on Syria kept shifting, at times seemingly guided by offhand remarks.
But the results are what count.
"If it works out in the end, the president's allowed to be uncertain," says Tim Naftali, a former director of the Nixon presidential library. "Oftentimes, the judgment you get during the crisis is not the judgment you get at the end."
Cyclist Graeme Obree, 48, has set a new world speed record for prone bicycles, as the man known as the Flying Scotsman topped 56 mph during a session at the just-completed World Human Speed Championships, held at Battle Mountain in the Nevada.
Pedaling with his nose less than an inch away from the front wheel of his custom-built, smooth-skinned bike, Obree finally succeeded Friday, after early runs failed to break the record of 54.9 mph set by Steve Ball in 1983.
Originally published on Sun September 15, 2013 11:51 am
The floods that have repeatedly inundated large parts of central and northeastern Colorado since Wednesday likely killed more than the four people who have been confirmed dead, officials say. The search for victims has taken second priority to rescue and relief operations, as agencies rush to help people who remain at risk. President Obama has declared a major disaster in the area.
Originally published on Sun September 15, 2013 9:56 am
Caught in the line of fire by police officers, two women were shot near crowded Times Square in Manhattan last night. The bystanders were wounded as police struggled to deal with a man who was behaving erratically. The man had "simulated" firing a gun at police; he was not found to have a weapon.
The incident began just after 9:30 p.m. Saturday, when police say an agitated man was running around in traffic in the area of 42nd Street and Eighth Avenue.
Originally published on Sun September 15, 2013 10:00 am
From the east and the west, two storm systems are closing in on Mexico, bringing strong winds and heavy rains. Hurricane Ingrid is moving toward the country's east coast in the Gulf of Mexico; Tropical Storm Manuel is closing in on the southwest coast in the Pacific Ocean.
The Syrian regime calls a new deal on its chemical weapons a victory, in a reaction that came one day after the U.S. and Russia announced the plan. On Saturday, live coverage of the the deal drew the attention of a Damascus flower shop owner.
Originally published on Sun September 15, 2013 10:06 am
One day after the United States and Russia announced a deal to rid Syria of its chemical weapons, the first official reaction has emerged from the Syrian regime, which calls it a "victory." Syria's rebels are criticizing the plan, saying it doesn't punish President Bashar Assad.
Originally published on Mon September 16, 2013 8:32 am
A 4-year-old child who died of a rare brain infection in early August has led Louisiana health officials to discover that the cause is lurking in the water pipes of St. Bernard Parish, southeast of New Orleans.
WEEKEND EDITION's travel segment Winging It aims to bring you advice and ideas about different ways to spend your free time and profiles of people embarking of adventures of all kinds. A few months, ago we introduced you to Rebecca Hall. When we spoke with her, Hall was getting ready to set out on an unusual journey - traveling from Greece to Hong Kong on a cargo ship.
The writer Jesmyn Ward lost her brother in a car accident, and she was never the same — but her grief would broaden and her losses compound. First one friend died, then another and another — all young black men, and all of them dead before the age of 30.
In her wrenching new memoir, Men We Reaped, Ward takes us to her hometown of DeLisle, on Mississippi's Gulf Coast. It's a place ravaged by poverty, drugs and routine violence. But even so, the place — and the memory of those she has lost — keeps pulling Ward back.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Rachel Martin. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is in Israel for a few hours today meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Later today, Kerry will travel to Paris to try to drum up international consensus on the Syria plan with the French, British and the Saudis.
Investigators work outside the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Ala., following an explosion that killed four young girls. Three Ku Klux Klansmen were convicted in the bombing years later.
Credit Debbie Elliott / NPR
Carolyn McKinstry was a Sunday school classmate of the girls.
Credit Debbie Elliott / NPR
Camille Morgan holds threatening letters her husband received after he criticized Birmingham's white community in the wake of the bombings. Shortly after, Chuck Morgan and his family was forced to flee the city.
I fell in love with Shirley Hazzard in 1980, when her great book Transit of Venus came out. I was completely dazzled by the beauty and authority of her writing, and by the effortless way she created this world.
The novel opens with a description of a storm. The air is charged with unthinkable violence, a sense of atmospheric threat which will recur throughout the book:
There are a lot of fascinating details hiding below the surface in the world of color. For instance, scientists once thought the average color of the entire universe was turquoise — until they recalculated and realized it was beige.
In Japan, you wait at a stoplight until it turns from red to blue, even though it's the same green color as American stoplights.
And in World War II, the British painted a whole flotilla of warships pinkish-purple so they'd blend in with the sky at dusk and confuse the Germans. That's right — pink warships.
The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show featured a fearless flying squirrel and his slow-witted moose sidekick. They did battle with two scheming but incompetent Soviet spies named Boris and Natasha.
The cartoon is an American classic, beloved for a wry sense of humor that appeals to kids and their parents. It originally aired from 1959 until 1964, but has been in syndication ever since, most recently on the Cartoon Network and Boomerang.
The surface tower at a drill site, under construction during blistering Antarctic winds. Data from instruments, deployed through 450 meters of ice, is transmitted from the tower by satellite back to the Naval Postgraduate School.
Credit Image courtesy of Tim Stanton
The Naval Postgraduate School team deploys ocean monitoring instruments through a bore hole into the ocean cavity below.
Scientists watching Antarctica's Pine Island Glacier from space have noticed with some alarm that it has been surging toward the sea.
If it were to melt entirely, global sea levels would rise by several feet.
The glacier is really, really remote. It's 1,800 miles from McMurdo, the U.S. base station in Antarctica, so just getting there is a challenge. Scientists have rarely been able to get out to the glacier to make direct measurements.