This week, the secretary of Health and Human Services, Kathleen Sebelius, testified before Congress about the botched rollout of the HealthCare.gov website. It was the latest attempt at damage control by the Obama administration since the site went live a month ago.
(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)
SECRETARY KATHLEEN SEBELIUS: The website has never crashed. It is functional but at a very slow speed and very low reliability - and has continued to function.
Nearly 1,000 scheduled flights and 100,000 passengers were affected at Los Angeles International Airport, where a gunman on Friday killed a TSA agent and wounded others. On Saturday afternoon, a major terminal in one of the nation's busiest airports finally reopened, FBI agents continued their investigation, and thousands of passengers tried to catch their flights.
Thirty or so attendees at St. Mary Primitive Baptist Church in Tallahassee, Fla., gathered on a recent evening to hear a presentation by the Obamacare Enrollment Team on their options to get insurance under the Affordable Care Act.
"If anybody is interested in getting enrolled, we can get you enrolled tonight," they were told.
Signs outside the church looked official: A familiar, large "O" with a blue outline, white center and three red stripes.
This week, the National Security Agency fought back against criticism of it's operations following leaks from former contractor Edward Snowden that have revealed some of the scale of the agency's surveillance of Americans and people overseas, including heads of state of U.S. allies. NPR's Larry Abramson has been covering the story and joins us. Larry, thanks so much for being with us.
LARRY ABRAMSON, BYLINE: Hi Scott.
SIMON: Bring us up to date. What happened this week that's pushed the scandal into the news again?
This is the third report in a four-part series on adult education.
Adults wanting to go back to school have the odds stacked against them. They juggle many responsibilities, there are long waitlists for classes and often there isn't a connection between what they learn in class and the skills they need to get a job.
Consumers shopping for coverage on the new health insurance exchanges have been focused on the lowest-cost options. But some shoppers are trying to determine which plans offer the widest array of doctors and hospitals — and are finding that can be trickier than it sounds.
John Batteiger applied for insurance coverage on the New York state exchange. But after he'd selected a plan, he had second thoughts: He'd forgotten to check if the plan he picked included a hospital near him.
Originally published on Fri November 1, 2013 6:04 pm
The Affordable Care Act's early travails are yielding some lessons for future presidents and lawmakers. Here are three:
1) Presidents can't be too careful about making high-profile promises. President Obama dented his credibility significantly by repeatedly promising that the Affordable Care Act would allow Americans with insurance they liked to keep those policies.
A lone gunman opened fire Friday at Los Angeles International Airport, police say. Police fired on the alleged shooter, who is now in police custody. The attack left one TSA officer dead and at least seven people needing medical treatment (including the shooter), officials said. The shooting forced the evacuation of a terminal and more than 45 flights into and out of LAX have been cancelled.
And now the latest twist in the ongoing NSA story, this time in the form of a coffee mug. A satirical artist, Dan McCall, makes a living off creating political parodies and selling them on mugs and T-shirts and bumper stickers. And in response to the revelations of leaker Edward Snowden, McCall decided to put the NSA seal to good use with a few tweaks.
DAN MCCALL: I put peeping while you're sleeping on the logo, which is sort of an homage to a Snoopy Doggy Dogg song, which I thought was kind of funny.
Food stamp recipients will see a cut in their benefits starting Friday. For the hungry and unemployed, more cuts may be coming. That's a challenge for the affected families, but it could also be a drain on the broader economy.
An East Los Angeles rivalry has become the largest high school football game west of the Mississippi. The football teams of Garfield High School and Roosevelt High School will meet on the gridiron Friday night for the 79th year. The game is expected to draw 20,000 fans.
Originally published on Fri November 1, 2013 4:06 pm
A federal appeals court has sided with the owners of a fruit and vegetable distributor who challenged part of the 2010 health care law requiring employers to provide insurance coverage for birth control. Federal courts have split on the issue, which is the subject of dozens of similar cases.
According to the National Women's Law Center, "a total of 88 lawsuits have been filed" over the issue of contraceptive coverage. Of that number, 63 cases are still pending; the other 25 have been closed.
Originally published on Fri November 1, 2013 4:12 pm
If the Republican establishment doesn't get its preferred candidate in Tuesday's Alabama special congressional runoff election, it won't be for want of an overwhelming cash advantage.
Bradley Byrne, a former head of the state's community college system, has outraised Tea Party favorite Dean Young $689,000 to $260,000, according to the latest Federal Election Commission filings. And Young's total includes $175,000 the real estate developer and political consultant has lent himself, meaning the actual fundraising ratio is more like 8 to 1.
When the federal health exchange marketplace opened Oct. 1, we visited jazz musician Suzanne Cloud in Philadelphia. She tried to start an account early in the morning, but technology thwarted her plans.
She wasn't alone, as it became clear quickly that the unprecedented system for Americans in 36 states to shop and enroll for health insurance was broken in several places. A week into her failed attempts, Cloud stayed positive.
A year after Hurricane Sandy, recovery efforts are still ongoing, and questions remain about how to rebuild and prepare the coastlines for the next storm. A group of experts discusses rebuilding and protective options — from sea walls to "oyster-tecture" — and considers calls for a "managed retreat" from the shore.
As we mentioned, the new police chief of Sanford, Florida, where the Trayvon Martin shooting took place, has now issued new guidelines for neighborhood watch groups and volunteers. We wanted to hear more about that, so we've called NPR correspondent Greg Allen, who's been covering the story. Greg, thanks so much for joining us once again.
GREG ALLEN, BYLINE: Oh, my pleasure, Michel.
MARTIN: So what specifically are the major changes called for in these guidelines?
On a Friday, it's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.
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And I'm Renee Montagne.
The 47 million Americans who rely on food stamps will have to make do with less starting today. The officially-name Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program is losing $5 billion of funding. That's because a temporary increase in benefits that was part of the economic stimulus in 2009 is expiring - which means a family of four could lose up to $36 a month in benefits.
This is the second report in a four-part series on adult education.
Ana Perez never made it to high school. Her education ended after the sixth grade, when war broke out in her native El Salvador. She says she's "desperate" to learn English, but she gets nervous trying to speak it.
Immigrants like Perez see English as the key to a better life. Many hope learning the language will help lift them out of poverty and integrate them into American society. But gaining English proficiency is a difficult task amid everyday obligations.
In a barn outside Manhattan, Kan., researchers from Kansas State University are trying to solve the riddle of bovine respiratory disease. They're sticking plastic rods down the noses of 6-month old calves, collecting samples of bacteria.