NPR News

As the GOP health bill moves to the U.S. Senate, many consumers and lawmakers worry that people who have pre-existing conditions won't be able to find affordable health coverage if the bill becomes law.

There are a number of strategies under consideration, but one option touted by House Republicans borrows an idea that Maine used several years ago. It's called an invisible high-risk pool — "invisible" because people in Maine didn't even know when they were in it.

Browse through some turn-of-the-century American cookbooks, and it's obvious that popular tastes have changed (such as the presence of fried cornmeal mush and the absence of cilantro). But more striking than the shift in flavors and ingredients is the focus on feeding those who are sick — or, to use the parlance of the time, "cooking for invalids."

The longest-serving governor in the country is set to become the steward of one of the United States' most delicate diplomatic relationships.

Later this week, the Senate will likely vote to confirm Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad as ambassador to China. Although he's not a member of the foreign policy establishment, Republicans and Democrats alike hope his long-standing relationship with Chinese President Xi Jinping will ease tensions with a rising global power that's also one of the United States' biggest trading partners.

The day Ayden came home from school with bruises, his mother started looking for a new school.

Ayden's a bright 9-year-old with a blond crew cut, glasses and an eager smile showing new teeth coming in. He also has autism, ADHD and a seizure disorder. (We're not using his last name to protect his privacy.) He loves karate, chapter books and very soft blankets: "I love the fuzziness, I just cocoon myself into my own burrito."

"He's so smart but lacks so much socially," says his mother, Lynn.

In the spring of my first-year of law school, while taking an exam, I had a grand mal seizure — the type of seizures people see in the movies with spasms on the floor. My memory is fuzzy from that time. I remember a few of my classmates offering me water afterward. I was told that many stopped taking the exam to make sure that I didn't injure myself while having a seizure, sitting in my chair.

FBI agents last week arrested an Arizona man accused of threatening to shoot Rep. Martha McSally, a Republican who represents the same Arizona district Gabrielle Giffords represented when she was shot in the head in 2011.

Updated at 9:10 p.m. ET

President Trump asked then-FBI Director James Comey to close down the agency's investigation into his former national security adviser Michael Flynn just one day after Flynn was let go, according to two sources close to Comey.

Play-by-play announcer Beth Mowins is set to become the first-ever female broadcaster to call an NFL game televised nationally.

A commentator for ESPN since 1994, she'll call the Los Angeles Chargers vs. Denver Broncos game in ESPN's opening Monday Night Football doubleheader on Sept. 11. Former Buffalo Bills and New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan will join her.

The world loses about 3,000 adolescents each day. That adds up to 1.2 million deaths a year. And with a bit more investment, the majority of those deaths can be prevented, according to a global study released on Tuesday by the World Health Organization.

Over the weekend, China pledged tens of billions of dollars in infrastructure financing and development aid, and elicited support from scores of countries to promote economic integration and free global trade through the creation of what Beijing is calling a "new Silk Road."

More than six weeks into ever-deepening demonstrations against President Nicolas Maduro's government, Venezuelans have found themselves staring down some stark numbers:

Updated at 4:58 p.m. May 18 to update the status of an Ohio bill and to add the name of a group spearheading support for it.

Just like coal companies, America's nuclear power industry is having a tough time. It faces slowing demand for electricity, and competition from cheaper natural gas and renewables. And now, touting itself as a form of clean energy, the nuclear industry is lobbying state legislatures with a controversial pitch for help.

Many Democrats are hoping the GOP health care bill that narrowly passed the U.S. House of Representatives is going to push political momentum their way, and result in big gains in the 2018 midterm elections. A special election next week in Montana may be an early test for this theory.

By latest counts, more than 200,000 computers in some 150 countries have been hit by a cyberattack using ransomware called WannaCry or WannaCrypt, which locked the data and demanded payment in bitcoin. The malware was stopped by a young U.K.

In the day room at St. Ann's Corner of Harm Reduction, which runs a needle exchange program in the Bronx, a group of guys are playing dominoes and listening to salsa music while they wait for lunch. And Van Asher, one of the staffers in charge of "transactions" — that means he gives out needles — is talking up his latest idea for how to keep the users here safe.

He wants to tell them what's really in their stash.

"If you're doing dope," he says to one client, "we'll give you a test strip so you can test and see if there's fentanyl."

Judging by public statements, U.S.-Turkey relations are going to be just fine.

President Trump hosted Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday afternoon, and both men had warm messages to share even after the two countries clashed last week over a decision by the United States to arm Kurdish fighters in Syria.

Trump spent much of his statement complimenting the Turkish military.

Some schoolkids might be happy if their school were knocked down.

Not in Nairobi.

On May 15, a group of primary school students sat at desks in the center of a main road to block traffic. Along with their parents, they were protesting the demolition of their school, the Kenyatta Golf Course Academy, over the weekend.

When's the last time you had a glass of cow's milk?

Americans are drinking a lot less milk than they used to. According to the U. S. Department of Agriculture, the average person drinks 18 gallons a year. Back in the 1970s it was more like 30 gallons a year. We once hoisted a glass with dinner, soaked our breakfast cereal or dipped into the occasional milkshake. This habitual milk drinking was no accident.

Susan Burton knows just how hard it is to get back on track after being released from prison. It's an experience she lived through six times, once for each of the prison terms she served.

"One of the things about incarceration is that you're deprived. You lose all of your identity and then its given back one day and you're ill-equipped to actually embrace it and work it," Burton says. "Each time I left prison I left with the resolve to get my life together, to get a job, to get back on track. And each time the task became more and more and more daunting."

Over the last two years, a gender divide has opened up in the U.S. Suddenly, men are far more optimistic about the nation's future than women.

Addiction experts are up in arms over remarks by Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price in which he referred to medication-assisted treatment for addiction as "substituting one opioid for another."

Nearly 700 researchers and practitioners sent a letter Monday communicating their criticisms to Price and urging him to "set the record straight."

President Trump has been saying in recent weeks that the Affordable Care act, or Obamacare, is "dead."

So he's threatened to cut off crucial payments to health insurance companies that help low-income customers pay day to day health care expenses.

That plan, however, may just end up bringing more people into the Affordable Care Act insurance markets.

Republicans in Congress are calling for briefings and pleading for "less drama" at the White House following revelations that President Trump shared classified intelligence with Russia — but most are muted in their criticism of him.

For the leader of Senate Republicans, the biggest concern is that the controversy over Trump's sharing of secrets — with the successor to what Republican President Ronald Reagan once labeled the "evil empire" — is that it's distracting lawmakers from their legislative program.

Updated at 2:44 p.m. ET

Neither Merrick Garland nor Sen. John Cornyn of Texas will be the new FBI director.

Two friends of Judge Merrick Garland who asked not to be named say he loves being a judge, and he intends to remain on the bench.

This comes after word that Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell recommended Garland to President Trump as a candidate for FBI director.

Updated at 5:51 p.m. ET

President Trump is responding to the backlash against the allegations that he shared "highly classified" information with the Russians by saying he had "the absolute right to do" so.

He tweeted Tuesday morning:

And he went a step further, again taking aim at fired former FBI Director James Comey and "leakers":

Cops have a decent shot at catching run-of-the-mill online scammers — say, the guy selling a car that's just too good to be true on Craigslist. But catching ransomware attackers is generally much more difficult — unless they slip up.

Another day and another conflict with airline employees goes viral.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is visiting the White House on Tuesday, looking for a "new beginning" to U.S.-Turkey relations, even as the two countries clash over the Trump administration's decision to arm Kurdish forces in Syria.

U.S. military officials view the Kurds there as key in the fight against ISIS, but the Turkish government argues they're terrorists.

The Trump administration has made school choice, vouchers in particular, a cornerstone of its education agenda. This has generated lots of interest in how school voucher programs across the country work and whom they benefit.

GOP Health Bill Penalizes Patients Who Let Insurance Lapse

May 16, 2017

Before he was diagnosed with head and neck cancer in 2015, Anthony Kinsey often went without health insurance. He is a contract lawyer working for staffing agencies on short-term projects in the Washington, D.C., area and sometimes the 90-day waiting period for coverage through a staffing agency proved longer than the duration of his project — if health coverage was offered at all.

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