Senate Republicans have updated their plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, attempting to patch a hole that threatened to destabilize the individual insurance market . The original Senate bill, unveiled last week, required insurance companies to offer coverage to everyone, including people with pre-existing medical conditions. But there was no requirement that individuals purchase insurance. Critics said that created a perverse incentive for healthy people to go without insurance, only buying coverage after they got sick. Without enough healthy customers making regular premium payments, insurance companies would be forced to raise prices, driving more customers away — a situation sometimes described as a "death spiral." The revised bill attempts to solve that problem by imposing a penalty on those who don't maintain continuous insurance coverage: People who let their coverage lapse for at least 63 days in one year would be locked out of the insurance market for six m..
The Supreme Court has agreed to take up a case on whether the owner of a Colorado cake shop can refuse to provide service to same-sex couples due to his religious beliefs about marriage. Jack Phillips, who along with his wife owns Masterpiece Cakeshop in suburban Denver, has argued that a state law compelling him to produce wedding cakes for gay couples, which runs counter to his religious beliefs, violates his right to free speech under the First Amendment. David Mullins and Charlie Craig, who are now married, filed a discrimination lawsuit in September 2012 after Phillips refused to make their wedding cake. The case is "about more than just a cake," Craig wrote in a blog post for the ACLU . "It's about making sure that Masterpiece and other businesses don't discriminate against customers because of who they are." The Colorado Civil Rights Commission sided with Mullins and Craig. It said that if Phillips is creating custom wedding cakes for heterosexual couples, he must do t..
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Copyright 2017 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air .
In an unusual move, the Supreme Court announced its decision to hear the Trump administration's travel ban cases from the bench. The Court merged the two cases and granted the stay applications in part. The Court will hear the cases in October. Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.
We rub, pour, sprinkle and spray them all over our bodies, so you'd hope cosmetics would undergo serious safety oversight before they get into our hands. But in fact, the cosmetics industry is largely self-regulated, with no requirements for approval before going on the market. And once on the market, there are few systems in place by to monitor the safety of personal care products. "You can start making a cosmetic and start selling it the next day without any kind of permission from the FDA," says Steve Xu, a resident physician in dermatology at the McGaw Medical Center of Northwestern University and author of a study on problems with personal care products published Monday. If you suspect that a product has resulted in an "adverse event," such as a rash, nausea, stress, or even death, you can report it to the manufacturer or tell the Food and Drug Administration. And while that might get you an apology and some coupons, there is no guarantee that your case will be investigated, ..
The mother of Philando Castile, a black motorist who was shot to death by a police officer last summer in Minnesota, has reached a settlement deal in the city of St. Anthony worth nearly $3 million. "No amount of money could ever replace Philando," the Minneapolis suburb said in a statement . Officials in St. Anthony said the settlement was reached quickly "in order to allow the process of healing to move forward for the Castile family, for the people of St. Anthony Village, and for all those impacted by the death of Philando Castile throughout the United States." Valerie Castile will receive $2.995 million through an insurance trust, according to city's statement. The settlement, which must be approved by a state court, will avert a federal wrongful death lawsuit in the Castile case, according to The Associated Press. "The important work of healing our community continues," St. Anthony said, adding that "the City and residents are working to improve trust between the police depar..
The U.S. Supreme Court says it will re-hear a case that asks whether immigrants detained by the government have a right to a bond hearing to challenge their indefinite detention. The case was argued in November 2016, months before Justice Neil Gorsuch filled the vacant seat of late Justice Antonin Scalia. It has implications for legal permanent residents that the government wants to deport because they committed crimes and for asylum seekers who are awaiting a court date after turning themselves in at the border. Immigrants' advocates contend that many of these immigrants have a right to be free on bail until their case is heard. The case pits David Jennings, the field office director at U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in California, against a legal permanent resident, Alejandro Rodriguez, who came to the U.S. as a child and worked as a dental assistant. As a teenager, Rodriguez was convicted of joyriding, and at 24, he pleaded guilty to misdemeanor possession of a contro..
Can the family of a slain Mexican teenager sue the federal agent who shot him across the U.S.-Mexico border for damages? The U.S. Supreme Court did not answer this question on Monday, instead opting to send a case back to a lower court. The case centers on a larger question: whether the Constitution extends protection to an individual who is killed on foreign soil, even though that person is standing just a few yards outside the United States. It also tests a long-held doctrine, called a Bivens action, in which plaintiffs are permitted to sue federal officials for breaking constitutional law. But that doctrine had never been applied outside the boundaries of the United States. In oral arguments in February, some justices were concerned that making U.S. agents liable for their actions taken in a foreign nation could be extended to, say, a house full of noncombatants killed by a U.S. drone strike in Pakistan. Bob Hilliard, the Texas attorney for the Mexican teen's family, argued tha..
You can catch cholera from drinking contaminated water. You can catch it from raw or undercooked shellfish. And you can catch it from soft-shell turtles. That's the finding of a study published earlier this month by scientists at the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention. And it's a particular concern in China and many other countries in East Asia, where turtle meat is often used in stews and soups. The researchers found that the bacterium that causes cholera, Vibrio cholerae , can colonize many of the outer surfaces of a soft-shell turtle, including its shell, legs, neck and calipash — a gelatinous material just underneath the shell and highly prized as a delicacy. The bacteria can also live in turtles' intestines. The study was published in the scientific journal, Applied and Environmental Microbiology. Although China has relatively few cholera cases compared to other countries, several small outbreaks of cholera are linked to soft-shell turtles ever year, ..
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Monday that taxpayer-funded grants for playgrounds available to nonprofits under a state program could not be denied to a school run by a church. "The consequence is, in all likelihood, a few extra scraped knees. But the exclusion of Trinity Lutheran from a public benefit for which it is otherwise qualified, solely because it is a church, is odious to our Constitution all the same, and cannot stand," Justice John Roberts wrote for the majority. In her dissent, Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote, "If this separation means anything, it means that the government cannot, or at the very least need not, tax its citizens and turn that money over to houses of worship. The Court today blinds itself to the outcome this history requires and leads us instead to a place where separation of church and state is a constitutional slogan, not a constitutional commitment." Two justices, Neil Gorsuch and Clarence Thomas, refused to sign on to a footnote explicitly stating that the
e Supreme Court says it will decide the fate of President Trump's revised travel ban, agreeing to hear arguments over immigration cases that were filed in federal courts in Hawaii and Maryland, and allowing parts of the ban that's now been on hold since March to take effect. The justices removed the lower courts' injunctions against the ban "with respect to foreign nationals who lack any bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States," narrowing the scope of two injunctions that had put the ban in limbo. The case centers on the president's move to block new visas for travelers from six majority-Muslim countries for 90 days, and to suspend the U.S. refugee program for 120 days. Challengers to the ban said it would harm people who have legitimate reasons to be in the U.S. — including through family ties, work and education. President Trump called the Supreme Court order "a clear victory for our national security." The travel ban will remain on hol..
The Supreme Court says it will decide the fate of President Trump's revised travel ban, agreeing to hear arguments over immigration cases that were filed in federal courts in Hawaii and Maryland, and allowing parts of the ban that's now been on hold since March to take effect. The case centers on the president's move to block new visas for travelers from six majority-Muslim countries for 90 days, and to suspend the U.S. refugee program for 120 days. The justices removed the lower courts' injunctions against the ban "with respect to foreign nationals who lack any bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States," narrowing the scope of two injunctions that had put the ban in limbo. With today's Supreme Court order, the travel ban will remain on hold for plaintiffs who challenged the executive order and for anyone who is "similarly situated," the justices say — in other words, foreign nationals who have relatives in the U.S., or who plan to att..
The Democratic Unionist Party has given U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May enough votes to form a government, signing a "confidence and supply" agreement to back May's Conservatives in confidence votes and on key economic issues. The DUP also secured more than $1 billion in economic assistance for Northern Ireland. "This agreement will operate to deliver a stable government in the United Kingdom's national interest at this vital time," DUP leader Arlene Foster said. The Northern Ireland party is pledging to vote with Conservatives on two topics that are at the forefront of British politics: national security — particularly in the wake of recent terrorist attacks — and the U.K.'s exit from the European Union. "The DUP is skeptical of Europe and is pro-Brexit, as NPR's Frank Langfitt has reported . "But it is also deeply worried that splitting from the EU will mean a return to a hard border across Ireland that could create economic and even political problems." By formin..
For 24 years, Joe Arpaio was a tough talking sheriff in Arizona, famous for cracking down on illegal immigration. About a decade ago Arpaio, dubbed "America's Sheriff" in conservative circles, started instructing his deputies to make traffic stops and detain any unauthorized immigrants they encountered. Then they'd turn the immigrants over to federal agents for deportation. He was voted out of his Maricopa County office in November but now faces his own legal troubles — a criminal trial begins Monday in which he is accused of ignoring a federal judge's order to curtail his crackdown. Many in the Latino community are happy to see the tables turned on him. "These immigration raids tore our neighborhood apart," said Lydia Guzman, an activist who helped sue Arpaio over those tactics. "I see different families with kids I see you know people enjoying themselves," she said at a crowded Mexican restaurant, not far from where many of Arpaio's operations took place. "This is..
For 24 years, Joe Arpaio was a tough talking sheriff in Arizona, famous for cracking down on illegal immigration. About a decade ago Arpaio, dubbed "America's Toughest Sheriff" in conservative circles, started instructing his deputies to make traffic stops and detain any unauthorized immigrants they encountered. Then they'd turn the immigrants over to federal agents for deportation. He was voted out of his Maricopa County office in November but now faces his own legal troubles — a criminal trial begins Monday in which he is accused of ignoring a federal judge's order to curtail his crackdown. Many in the Latino community are happy to see the tables turned on him. "These immigration raids tore our neighborhood apart," said Lydia Guzman, an activist who helped sue Arpaio over those tactics. "I see different families with kids I see you know people enjoying themselves," she said at a crowded Mexican restaurant, not far from where many of Arpaio's operations took place...
In many ways, parenting newborns seems instinctual. We see a little baby, and we want to hold her. Snuggle and kiss her. Even just her smell seems magical. Many of us think breast-feeding is similar. "I had that idea before my first child was born," says Brooke Scelza , an evolutionary anthropologist at the University of Los Angeles, California. "I definitely thought, 'Oh, I'm going to figure that out. Like how hard can it be?' " Although breast-feeding is easy for some women, for many new moms — including Scelza — it's a struggle. "I was shocked at how hard it was," she says. In a survey a few years ago, 92 percent of women said they had problems in the first few days of breast-feeding. They couldn't get the baby to latch onto the nipple. They had pain. Sore nipples. And they were worried they weren't making enough milk. "This is just surprising because breast-feeding was a critical function for child survival in the past, and if you couldn't figure ..
Chinese authorities have granted dissident Liu Xiaobo medical parole, freeing the Nobel Peace Prize winner from prison because he has terminal liver cancer. Liu, 61, is being allowed to seek treatment in a hospital outside of prison. "According to his lawyer, Liu was diagnosed with late-stage liver cancer while in prison last month," NPR's Rob Schmitz reports from Hong Kong. "[He] is being treated at a hospital in the northeastern city of Shenyang." Liu is more than halfway through the 11-year sentence he received in 2009 for what the government called "incitement to subvert state power." His main infraction was helping to write a six-page manifesto titled Charter 08 , which called for an end to one-party rule in China along with direct elections and the separation of powers. The document states, for instance, "Public institutions should be used for the public." A veteran activist and academic, Liu traveled from the U.S. to participate in the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989 — an..
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