President Obama traveled to Boston Wednesday, where he spoke at Fanueil Hall about the Affordable Care Act. The site of his speech is significant as the hall where then-governor Mitt Romney signed the state's health law, which was the model for the federal plan. Like Obamacare, the Massachusetts plan had a rocky rollout. Its an analogy the president touts, though one that only goes so far.
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius testified on the Affordable Care Act before the House Energy and Commerce Committee. She began with an apology for the plan's troubled rollout — but then defended the law and rejected calls to extend the enrollment deadline.
The latest complaints about the health law center around the question of whether you can keep your current health plan if you like it. There actually are rules associated with the law that try to protect that right. Here's a primer on those rules.
Against the backdrop of big uncertainties business are facing — everything from the future of fed policy and leadership and gridlock in Washington to the effects of Obamacare, inflation and unemployment — Robert Siegel talks with Pat Meyer, president and CEO of windows and doors maker Pella Corporation for an on-the-ground sense of how businesses see these uncertain economic times.
Federal Reserve policymakers wrapped up their two-day October meeting Wednesday by announcing that they will maintain the Fed's $85 billion per month bond purchase program. The central bank's statement said that conditions in the labor market have "improved" and inflation is modest. But, in explaining the decision to maintain the stimulus, the statement pointed to a slowing housing market and said that fiscal policy is "restraining economic growth."
Sonoma County, Calif., is probably best known for its good wine, green sensibilities and otherwise healthy and peaceful living. But that peace was shattered last week when a county sheriff's deputy shot and killed a young teenager carrying a toy gun.
Originally published on Wed October 30, 2013 2:12 pm
Protocol is a concept that's often lost on young children, and this boy — one of a group of children invited to sit near the pontiff during a speech — didn't see any reason why he shouldn't hang out for a bit with the guy in white.
Dressed in jeans, sneakers and a polo shirt, the unidentified youngster crawled up onstage and stood next to Pope Francis during a service at St. Peter's Square at the Vatican over the weekend.
Originally published on Wed October 30, 2013 3:07 pm
Dazzling with diamonds, emeralds and gold, 70 pieces of treasure — said to be some of the most valuable in the world — have been transported from a vault in a Naples cathedral to a museum in Rome. They'll stay there until February, marking the first time they've ever been displayed outside of Naples.
Gas prices are down more than 7 percent from last year. Grocery costs haven't budged lately. And — just in time for Halloween — the price of candy is down 2.3 percent from last year, according to the government's consumer price index released Wednesday.
Here at Shots we get all kinds of pitches about the latest smartphone app that promises a profound improvement in our health. But truth be told, Candy Crush gets a lot more exercise than all those medical apps we've downloaded. And it turns out we're not alone.
Originally published on Wed October 30, 2013 1:36 pm
The Federal Reserve's message, at least for now, is to take a wait-and-see approach to the economy before tapering off on its bond-buying program.
In a statement issued after Wednesday's meeting, the Federal Open Market Committee said that while it has seen signs of "growing underlying strength in the broader economy" it awaits "more evidence that progress can be sustained."
This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Michel Martin. Later in the program, we'll speak with a roundtable of educators about school safety. That's a subject that's on our minds a year after the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School and weeks after two more teachers were killed in their schools. That conversation is coming up.
I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Later in the program, we'll head into the Beauty Shop, where our panel of women commentators and journalists take on some hot topics of the week, including adult Halloween costume dilemmas. And we'll ask if Jay-Z has another problem to add to his 99 - we promise we'll explain all that.
Originally published on Wed October 30, 2013 1:12 pm
While human rights groups and other watchdogs have put the civilian death toll in the hundreds, Pakistan's Ministry of Defense announced Wednesday that just 3 percent of the deaths from U.S. drone strikes since 2008 were noncombatants.
The ministry says 317 drone strikes have killed 2,160 Islamic militants and 67 civilians in the last five years.
Health insurers are ending policies for what could turn out to be millions of Americans. The moves have rattled consumers and stoked new debate about the health care law.
No one knows for sure right now how many of the estimated 14 million people who buy their own insurance are getting cancellation notices, but the numbers appear to be big. Some insurers report discontinuing 20 percent of their individual business, while other insurers have notified up to 80 percent of policyholders that they will have to change plans.
Originally published on Wed October 30, 2013 12:23 pm
U.S. Special Forces haven't found Joseph Kony. Several African governments have searched in vain for the notorious Ugandan warlord. And a social media campaign among young Americans, which last year focused attention on Kony's atrocities and went viral, has waned.
But Canadian Robert Young Pelton, an adventurer/journalist/entrepreneur, thinks he can track down Kony in central Africa — and he's prepared to do it if he can raise $450,000 from crowdfunding.
Originally published on Wed October 30, 2013 11:36 am
In its October/November issue, Running Times has a piece by distance running great Bill Rodgers. Among the most compelling of his reflections are the details on his diet while training for the 1976 New York City Marathon:
Originally published on Wed October 30, 2013 11:30 am
We've all grumbled about the growing ranks of phone-gazing zombies, drifting along the sidewalk or holding up the checkout line. Texting while walking, distracted walking, the smartphone sidewalk scourge — whatever you call it, this phenomenon has rapidly become a nearly inescapable frustration of modern life.
Originally published on Wed October 30, 2013 10:30 am
As lawmakers grill Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius about the botched startup of HealthCare.gov and other issues related to the Affordable Care Act, nonpartisan fact checkers are giving failing grades to President Obama's oft-repeated pledge to Americans that "if you like your health care plan, you can keep your health care plan."
As he prepared to deploy earlier this year, Lt. Gen. Mark Milley, the No. 2 commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, found that people seemed to have forgotten about Afghanistan.
"The opinion that he gathered was nobody was interested anymore," explains Col. Chris Garver, a spokesman for ISAF Joint Command in Kabul. "[Gen. Milley] came over here with the goal to say, 'Well, let's try and get people interested; let's try to explain to people where we are.' "
And, with that, this past summer ISAF launched a new offensive in the war to inform.
When it comes to things like the economy, taxes, health care and education, is it better to live in a red state or a blue state?
Some argue that red-state tendencies toward lower taxes and less regulated, more free-market systems make them ideal places to work and raise a family. But others counter that residents of blue states are wealthier, have more educational opportunities and benefit from a commitment to a social safety net.
Originally published on Wed October 30, 2013 2:15 pm
Poetry is important. And the hope for this standing feature of The Protojournalist is that by searching for a poetic nugget in the constant rush of news we can slow down for a moment and contemplate what the news story really means.
Like finding a lovely pebble in a mountain stream. Or a dropped earring on a crowded sidewalk.