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5 Challenges Still Facing Obamacare

Jun 26, 2015

In its first five years, the Affordable Care Act has survived technical meltdowns, a presidential election, two Supreme Court challenges — including one resolved Thursday — and dozens of repeal efforts in Congress. But its long-term future still isn't ensured.

Here are five of the biggest hurdles that remain.

Medicaid Expansion

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Fifty-one years before the deadly shootings at a church in Charleston, S.C., there was another infamous attack on a Southern black church. The 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Ala., was bombed by the Ku Klux Klan on Sept. 15, 1963.

Four young girls were murdered. Cynthia Wesley, Carole Robertson and Addie Mae Collins were each 14 years old. Denise McNair was 11. Gwen Moten was best friends with Denise.

When I set out to interview Helena Hicks, I thought we'd talk history. The soft-spoken, 80-year-old who stands just 4 feet 10 inches tall with a sleek, silver bob, is known for her role in helping to desegregate Read's Drug Store chain. But it turns out she's as active as ever, a force to reckon with at any sense of injustice.

"My father taught me that 'you are somebody,' " she says. "If it's wrong, you do something about it."

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The 2015 NBA Draft took place Thursday night in Brooklyn's Barclay Center. Karl-Anthony Towns from the University of Kentucky was the first pick, drafted by the Minnesota Timberwolves, a team that ended last season with a 16-66 record. Nineteen-year-old, 6-foot-11 Towns only played one year at Kentucky, but during that season was named a 2015 Second-Team All-American. He also helped lead Kentucky to the Final Four.

In an interview shortly after his pick, Towns told ESPN, "This is what you live for." He continued, "I'm coming with a winning attitude. I just want to win."

Following comments Donald Trump made about Mexican immigrants during his presidential announcement last week, Univision, the nation's largest Spanish-language TV network, has announced it is cutting ties with Trump and dropping plans to broadcast the Miss Universe Pageant.

Trump, the businessman and now-presidential candidate, co-owns the pageant.

The U.S. Supreme Court handed the Obama administration a sweeping victory on Thursday, upholding the nationwide subsidies that are crucial to the president's health care law. By a 6-3 vote, the high court ruled that Congress meant all three major provisions of the law to apply to all states and to work in tandem.

The ruling was the court's second decision upholding the Affordable Care Act — three years ago, it upheld the law as constitutional.

A proposed resolution to remove state flags containing any portion of the Confederate battle flag from the U.S. Capitol has been put on hold by House Republicans.

The measure, sponsored by Rep. Bennie Thompson, the only black member of Mississippi's congressional delegation, would authorize the Speaker of the House to remove any state flag that contained the Confederate symbol on the House side of the Capitol complex. Mississippi is the only state flag that would be affected.

Justice Antonin Scalia called on using old-time language on Thursday to express his contempt for the Supreme Court's ruling in favor of Obamacare. He called the majority opinion "jiggery pokery" and "pure applesauce."

Also Thursday, the editors of the Oxford English Dictionary added 500 entries, mostly of the new-fangled variety.

There were plenty of tasty tidbits packed into the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee report that came out back in February.

As we reported, the panel of nutrition experts that wrote the report said it was OK to eat an egg a day. The scientific evidence now shows it won't raise the amount of LDL cholesterol – the bad kind of cholesterol — in your blood or raise the risk of heart disease.

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After a mass shooting at a historically black church, Charleston, S.C., finds itself in the middle of a national conversation about race.

The city of Charleston itself has seen major racial shifts in its population over the past few decades: since 1990, the black population has dropped from 42 percent to 23 percent, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. One neighborhood undergoing this transition is located just north of the site of the shooting, Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church.

Letters: Confederate Flag Debate

Jun 25, 2015
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Let's get to your letters now. No surprise our inbox is filled with comments on this week's debate over the Confederate battle flag. Some of you wrote after Monday's interview with Doug Brannon. He's a Republican in the South Carolina House.

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PBS has released details about an internal investigation that found that actor Ben Affleck exerted improper influence by requesting that the show Finding Your Roots hide details of a slave-owning ancestor in his family tree.

University professors in Pennsylvania are upset over a new law that requires them to get a child abuse background check every three years and have their fingerprints taken.

The law was passed after the Jerry Sandusky child sexual abuse scandal. In 2012 Sandusky, a former Penn State assistant football coach, was convicted of sexually abusing 10 boys over a 15-year period. He'll likely spend the rest of his life in prison.

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The controversial bill that would require almost all children entering day care or school in California to be vaccinated crossed another key hurdle Thursday, as the state Assembly approved it by a vote of 46-30.

The bill, SB 277, now returns to the state Senate, where lawmakers will be asked to concur with amendments made in the Assembly.

In 1922, seven Western states — Colorado, Utah, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, Wyoming and California — drew up an agreement on how to divide the waters of the Colorado River. But there was one big problem with the plan: They overestimated how much water the river could provide.

As a result, each state was promised more water than actually exists. This miscalculation — and the subsequent mismanagement of water resources in those states — has created a water crisis that now affects nearly 40 million Americans.

Once a smoker always a smoker, right? Not quite.

As the number of smokers drops, the remaining smokers actually smoke less and are more likely to quit, according to a study published Wednesday in the journal Tobacco Control.

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Supreme Court Upholds Obamacare Subsidies

Jun 25, 2015

The Affordable Care Act survived its second Supreme Court test in three years, raising odds for its survival but by no means ending the legal and political assaults on it five years after it became law.

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