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Minnesota Moves To Shore Up Health Insurance Market

Feb 6, 2017

What's going to happen to the federal health law? The quick, accurate answer is that no one knows.

But amid the uncertainty about the future of the Affordable Care Act, states still have to manage their insurance markets. Most states have muddled through the 2017 enrollment season without making changes.

Minnesota, for its part, took three unusual actions that are worth a closer look.

In January, Minnesota:

  • passed a one-time bailout for some consumers in the individual insurance market dealing with skyrocketing premiums;

Stories about black women whose employers asked them to cut their dreadlocks or to trim their big afros have surfaced with more frequency in the last few years. Now a new study confirms that many people — including black ones — have a bias against the types and styles of natural hair worn by black people.

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Stand in the center of this house and you'll find yourself in the living room and the dining room.

And the bedroom. Oh, and also the kitchen.

At 500 square feet and designed to hold as many as six people, the house makes for quite a tiny home. But for many, it's just enough for now.

Most of us have reached for a painkiller, at one time or another, only to discover the date on the label shows it has expired. But what does an "expiration" date on medicine really mean? Is it dangerous if you take it anyway? Less effective?

By the time Kay Schwister got her diagnosis last summer, she couldn't talk anymore. But she could still scowl, and scowl she did.

After weeks of decline and no clue what was causing it, doctors had told Schwister — a 53-year-old vocational rehab counselor and mother of two from Chicago — that she had an incurable disease called Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, or CJD.

The disease was shrinking Kay's brain, and riddling it with holes. She would likely live only a few more weeks, the doctors said.

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Did I Get James Baldwin Wrong?

Feb 5, 2017

In 1983, I was studying abroad in Nice, France, and while other exchange students were flitting from city to city, checking off items on their bucket lists, I craved only one European cultural experience:

I wanted to meet James Baldwin, the mandarin prophet and former boy preacher; the African-American expatriate writer who once used his European exile to explore, defy, and decry the delusional fiction of race that has organized our minds, our possibilities, our world, and now leads us toward the precipice of self-annihilation.

After three quarters, this game looked for all the world like a rout by the Atlanta Falcons. They were up 28-9. Their quarterback Matt Ryan, who just won the regular season MVP on Saturday night, was playing like an unstoppable Super Bowl MVP, too.

Then, something unbelievable happened: The New England Patriots came back.

A federal appeals court denied President Trump's attempt to restore his travel ban on refugees and visa holders from seven majority-Muslim countries Sunday morning, sending people scrambling to board planes while it is legal once again for them to enter the country.

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Five teenagers who vandalized an historic African-American schoolhouse received an unusual punishment this week. The teenagers spray-painted swastikas, the words white power and lewd symbols on the building last October.

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For animals lovers, adopting a cat or dog is easier than ever these days. There are now countless websites through which one can adopt one of these cute, furry creatures. Unfortunately, however, while many of these animals find caring homes, scores of them still end up in shelters, where they are often put to sleep.

This trend is changing in Richmond, Va.

Five years ago, more than a third of the animals that came to Richmond's government-run animal shelter were put down. Today, the shelter is boasting record high adoptions — nearly 90 percent.

The scientific community has been roiled by the Trump travel ban.

Like tens of thousands of residents of the seven Muslim-majority countries, scientists have been stranded — cut off from their labs, worried they won't be able to attend upcoming conferences. And even though the ban has been temporarily reversed by a court order, they are uncertain about what the future holds — and the implications for their work.

Consider the case of Ph.D. candidate Hanan Isweiri. She left her lab at Colorado State University to fly home to Libya after the death of her father.

Finally, today, they will play football.

The Atlanta Falcons take on the New England Patriots in Super Bowl 51.

After an NFL season of sagging TV ratings, it's expected today's game, in Houston, will do what Super Bowls always do — turn 60 minutes of football into a national holiday.

President Trump's first two weeks in office have been a sprint, not the start of a marathon. If the rapid pace and, sometimes, hourly developments of executive orders, news, controversies and more have left you exhausted, you're not alone. If you're finding it hard to remember just everything that's transpired too, we're here for that as well.

Here's a quick recap of the highlights — and lowlights — of the first 14 days of Trump's nascent presidency.

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Judge James L. Robart did not have to actually rule on the legality of President Trump's executive order barring people from seven countries from entering the United States.

In granting a temporary restraining order, the judge essentially had to decide that:

  1. the plaintiffs (the states of Washington and Minnesota) were likely to succeed at a later date;
  2. people in those states could suffer irreparable harm if the ban continued; and
  3. blocking the president's order was in the public interest.

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SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

It's only the second week of the Trump administration, but there has been a continued tension with facts. In his first week, the president boasted about his inaugural crowds and doubled down on false claims that there were millions of illegal voters who swayed the results of the popular vote.

The latest, remarkable misstep of a Cabinet nominee who has misstepped plenty came in answer to a simple question:

"Why do you think their performance is so poor?" asked Senator Patty Murray, D-Wa., in a written question to Betsy DeVos, President Trump's nominee to lead the Education Department.

Updated at 4:13 a.m. ET Sunday

President Trump's travel ban remains suspended, after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit denied a Justice Department request to stay the suspension of President Trump's order.

The court asked opponents of the ban to respond to the Trump administration's appeal by Sunday at 11:59 p.m. PT; the court asked the Justice Department to respond by Monday at 3 p.m. PT.

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