The Affordable Care Act requires nearly every American to have health insurance or pay a penalty, beginning Jan. 1. The so-called "individual mandate" has been controversial ever since the law was passed.
But for people who fall into a few select categories, the mandate doesn't apply. Like Native Americans who get health coverage through the Indian Health Service, or people who are incarcerated.
Efforts by the National Security Agency to track potential suspects and find connections between them have led the agency to collate its reams of data with information drawn from sources that include GPS locators and Facebook profiles, according to The New York Times. The newspaper cites documents provided by Edward Snowden, the former NSA contract worker, as well as interview with officials.
Next, we're headed to Fresno, California. The city has one of the highest homeless populations per capita in the country. Fresno has been a poor city for a long time. But since the recession, the situation of the city's homeless has become even more wretched. Like a lot of places, Fresno was hit hard when the housing market collapsed. Large shanty towns covering several acres began to sprout up around downtown. Facing pressure to act, in recent weeks, city officials armed with brooms and backhoes began dismantling them.
From NPR West, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Arun Rath.
Three months after 19 firefighters died on the Yarnell Hill fire in Arizona, the officials have released a long-awaited report detailing what happened to the Granite Mountain Hotshots. The report was given to the firefighters' families this morning, then released online and in a news conference in Prescott, Arizona.
NPR's Ted Robbins is there, and he's with us now to discuss what was the worst loss of life in a wildfire in 80 years. Ted, what does the report say?
From NPR West, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Arun Rath.
Since the Affordable Care Act was passed four years ago, the House has voted more than 40 times to repeal or defund all or part of it. At this hour, the House once again is set to vote on a measure that would delay the rollout of Obamacare for a year. That is one of two amendments the House Republicans are adding to a bill that would keep the government open for business past Monday. Without a stop-gap spending bill, a partial government shutdown will begin on Tuesday.
The Republican governor has been turning up in other states, touting the wonders of Texas and promising business owners they'll find lower taxes and more manageable regulation there.
"It does help get the word out to business leaders that may be frustrated," says David Carney, a longtime consultant to Perry. "Going in person can get literally hundreds of thousands of dollars of free media coverage."
Originally published on Sun September 29, 2013 6:52 am
Updated at 12:24 a.m. ET Sunday
The House voted early Sunday to tie government funding to a one-year delay in implementing Obamacare, sending the dispute back to the Senate, where it is certain to get a frosty reception. The House measure also repeals the Affordable Care Act's tax on medical devices.
Originally published on Sat September 28, 2013 9:08 am
More than a dozen women's health care clinics have filed a lawsuit against the state of Texas, seeking to revoke parts of a controversial health law that puts new restrictions on clinics that provide abortions.
Officials from BP, formerly British Petroleum, will be back in a New Orleans courtroom next week. It's part of a complex federal case that will ultimately determine responsibility in damages for the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history. And that's the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. NPR's Debbie Elliott's been following the trial and joins us. Deb, thanks for being with us.
DEBBIE ELLIOTT, BYLINE: Glad to be here.
SIMON: Remind us of what's at stake in this phase of the case.
Originally published on Fri September 27, 2013 5:25 pm
As expected, the Democratic-controlled Senate passed its own version of a short-term spending bill. It's the version the House approved last week, minus language that would defund Obamacare. That effectively tossed the ball back to the Republican-controlled House.
And President Obama warned House Republicans to avoid the twin disruptions of a government shutdown (at midnight Monday) and a debt default (in mid-October).
If the government shuts down on Oct. 1, hundreds of thousands of federal employees could be temporarily forced out of their jobs — and we will almost certainly begin to hear a few of their stories soon after.
On NPR's Tell Me More Friday, Ron Elving, NPR's senior Washington editor, reminded us of a Social Security Administration worker, Richard Dean, who was laid off during the 1995-96 government shutdown and thrust into the forefront of the budget debate by President Bill Clinton.
Originally published on Fri September 27, 2013 4:53 pm
Two former U.S. Army sergeants are among those facing charges in connection with an alleged international hit squad after their extradition from Thailand in a case the prosecuting U.S. attorney says reads like a Tom Clancy novel.
Joseph Manuel Hunter, 48, nicknamed "Rambo," was arrested by Thai authorities after a sting operation led by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, along with Timothy Vamvakias and at least three others on the resort island of Phuket on Thursday.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel. There was once a time when naming a new Federal Reserve chairman was a non-event. Well, not this time. The competition between supporters for former Treasury secretary Larry Summers and the current vice chairman of the Fed, Janet Yellen has been a highly public affair.
As NPR's John Ydstie reports, there's concern that the high profile discussion could politicize the Fed succession in a way that could ultimately hurt the economy.
In Arizona, the state Forestry Division will release its official report Saturday regarding the the Yarnell Hill fire, where 19 elite firefighters from the Granite Mountain Hot Shots were killed. The deaths shook firefighters across the country. They and others hope the report addresses problems they see in current firefighting policies.
In Florida, Louisiana, New York and other coastal states, many homeowners are in shock at new flood insurance rates that are rapidly approaching. After Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy left the National Flood Insurance Program $24 billion in the red, Congress revamped the program--phasing out subsidies. One group especially upset are new homeowners--people who bought a property and are now seeing their flood insurance costs skyrocket, making the property no longer affordable.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.
For millions of uninsured people, Tuesday is a big day. That's when they can start signing up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act. But for people who speak little or no English, it may be a difficult process. Illinois, which has one of the country's largest immigrant populations, is working to make sure that language is not a barrier to enroll in. NPR's Cheryl Corley reports.
An Australian record label may have picked a fight with the wrong guy. The label sent a standard takedown notice threatening to sue after YouTube computers spotted its music in a video.
It turns out that video was posted by one of the most famous copyright attorneys in the world, and Lawrence Lessig is suing back.
Lessig, a Harvard Law School professor, has lectured around the world about how copyright law needs to adapt to the Internet age. In his lecture, he shows examples of people who have used the Internet to "share their culture and remix other people's creations."
Phantom vibration — that phenomenon where you think your phone is vibrating but it's not — has been around only since the mobile age. And five years ago, when its wider existence became recognized, news organizations, including ours, covered the "syndrome" as a sign of the digital encroachment in our lives. Today, it's so common that researchers have devoted studies to it.
President Obama was more dependent on female campaign contributors in 2012 than any presidential candidate in recent history.
According to a new report from the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics, female donors accounted for more than 44 percent of Obama's campaign contributions, the most for any White House hopeful since at least 1988.
The GOP nominee, Mitt Romney, received just 28 percent of his campaign cash from women.
During an experiment, marketing professor Remi Trudel noticed a pattern in what his volunteers were recycling versus throwing in the garbage. He then went through his colleagues' trash and recycling bins at Boston University for more data.
He found the same pattern, says NPR's Shankar Vedantam: "Whole sheets of paper typically went in the recycling, but paper fragments went in the trash."
Same type of paper, different shapes, different bins.
Josh Lampert started having psychotic episodes in college, when he was 19 and living in Seattle.
"My diagnosis was psychotic depression," he told his father, Chuck, during a visit to StoryCorps. "You can hallucinate sounds and smells and tastes. And my mistake was doing drugs, because sometimes the line got blurred of what is real and what isn't. Other people seemed like they had so much — social relationships and girlfriends, and I was just trying to function."
Los Angeles Unified School District started issuing iPads to its students this school year, as part of a $30 million deal with Apple. The rollout is in the first of three phases, and ultimately, the goal is to distribute more than 600,000 devices.
Any day now, Fresno plans to raze a large homeless encampment that's grown up near downtown. The poor, farm-dependent city in California's Central Valley has one of the highest per capita homeless populations in the country.
In recent weeks, city officials there have dismantled three other sprawling shantytowns. The moves have displaced hundreds of people and sparked controversy.
Underneath Highway 180
Fresno is one of the poorest places in America. One in 4 people here live below the poverty line, and the recession only made things worse.
Originally published on Thu September 26, 2013 4:10 pm
Is the GOP still the "party of business"?
With the party's long-standing and ongoing push for lower taxes and fewer regulations — both in Washington and in state legislatures — Republicans can reasonably make that claim.
Yet some of the congressional Republican rhetoric in the battle over a continuing resolution, the debt ceiling and defunding Obamacare makes it clear that there's a significant amount of tension between the party and the business community.
Much of the strong language comes from the Tea Party and its friends on Capitol Hill.
An online collection has raised more than $145,000 for a man who stumbled onto a pile of money and turned it over to police.
Glen James' story of a good deed is just one of many making headlines. It may not be exactly brand new, but public interest does seem to be piqued these days by ordinary folks making what are seen as extraordinary ethical decisions.
Some, however, question if airing this kind of "good" news is actually good.