Alabama authorities say a home burglary suspect has died after police used a stun gun on the man.  Birmingham police say he resisted officers who found him in a house wrapped in what looked like material from the air conditioner duct work.  The Lewisburg Road homeowner called police Tuesday about glass breaking and someone yelling and growling in his basement.  Police reportedly entered the dwelling and used a stun gun several times on a white suspect before handcuffing him.  Investigators say the man was "extremely irritated" throughout and didn't obey verbal commands.

Montgomery Education Foundation's Brain Forest Summer Learning Academy was spotlighted Wednesday at Carver High School.  The academic-enrichment program is for rising 4th, 5th, and 6th graders in the Montgomery Public School system.  Community Program Director Dillion Nettles, says the program aims to prevent learning loss during summer months.  To find out how your child can participate in next summer's program visit

A police officer is free on bond after being arrested following a rash of road-sign thefts in southeast Alabama.  Brantley Police Chief Titus Averett says officer Jeremy Ray Walker of Glenwood is on paid leave following his arrest in Pike County.  The 30-year-old Walker is charged with receiving stolen property.  Lt. Troy Johnson of the Pike County Sheriff's Office says an investigation began after someone reported that Walker was selling road signs from Crenshaw County.  Investigators contacted the county engineer and learned signs had been reported stolen from several roads.

NPR Politics presents the Lunchbox List: our favorite campaign news and stories curated from NPR and around the Web in digestible bites (100 words or less!). Look for it every weekday afternoon from now until the conventions.

Convention Countdown

The Republican National Convention is in 4 days in Cleveland.

The Democratic National Convention is in 11 days in Philadelphia.

NASA has released the first picture of Jupiter taken since the Juno spacecraft went into orbit around the planet on July 4.

The picture was taken on July 10. Juno was 2.7 million miles from Jupiter at the time. The color image shows some of the atmospheric features of the planet, including the giant red spot. You can also see three of Jupiter's moons in the picture: Io, Europa and Ganymede.

The Senate is set to approve a bill intended to change the way police and health care workers treat people struggling with opioid addictions.

My husband and I once took great pleasure in preparing meals from scratch. We made pizza dough and sauce. We baked bread. We churned ice cream.

Then we became parents.

Now there are some weeks when pre-chopped vegetables and a rotisserie chicken are the only things between us and five nights of Chipotle.

Parents are busy. For some of us, figuring out how to get dinner on the table is a daily struggle. So I reached out to food experts, parents and nutritionists for help. Here is some of their (and my) best advice for making weeknight meals happen.

"O Canada," the national anthem of our neighbors up north, comes in two official versions — English and French. They share a melody, but differ in meaning.

Let the record show: neither version of those lyrics contains the phrase "all lives matter."

But at the 2016 All-Star Game, the song got an unexpected edit.

At Petco Park in San Diego, one member of the Canadian singing group The Tenors — by himself, according to the other members of the group — revised the anthem.

School's out, and a lot of parents are getting through the long summer days with extra helpings of digital devices.

How should we feel about that?

Police in Baton Rouge say they have arrested three people who stole guns with the goal of killing police officers. They are still looking for a fourth suspect in the alleged plot, NPR's Greg Allen reports.

"Police say the thefts were at a Baton Rouge pawn shop early Saturday morning," Greg says. "One person was arrested at the scene. Since then, two others have been arrested and six of the eight stolen handguns have been recovered. Police are still looking for one other man."

A 13-year-old boy is among those arrested, Greg says.


As Fiscal Cliff Looms, Medicare And Medicaid Face Uncertain Budget Futures

Oct 25, 2012
Originally published on October 25, 2012 6:02 pm

No matter who wins the election on Nov. 6, official Washington will have to deal with something called the "fiscal cliff" before the end of the year.

What's coming is a perfect storm of expiring tax cuts, scheduled budget cuts, and various other spending changes scheduled to take place Jan. 1 unless Congress and President Obama (who no matter what will still be president until next Jan. 20) agree on a way to avert them.

As two of the largest spending items in the federal budget, the Medicare and Medicaid health programs are expected to play a role in how the deal gets done. Under the provisions of the law that created the budget deal Congress will attempt to undo, Medicare is subject to a two percent cut in provider payments, while Medicaid is exempt.

But two new studies and a proposed class action lawsuit settlement suggest a lot of dollar signs could change as lawmakers start to think about how to address the impending mess.

The first, the proposed settlement in a long-running dispute between advocates for Medicare patients and the federal government, is actually likely to increase Medicare spending, although how much remains unclear.

The suit was brought by the Center for Medicare Advocacy on behalf of a class of patients with chronic conditions who had been denied Medicare coverage for home care, nursing home care or other services on the grounds that the patients' conditions were not expected to "improve" with care.

The settlement, assuming it is approved by the judge in the case, means that "the Medicare Benefit Policy Manual Will be revised to correct any suggestion that continued coverage is dependent on the beneficiary improving," said the organization in a statement. The change is expected to affect as many as tens of thousands of beneficiaries with conditions ranging from multiple sclerosis to Parkinson's' to diabetes, arthritis, and heart disease.

But while it will boost spending for Medicare by preventing many of those patients from spending themselves into poverty, it could well end up saving money for Medicaid.

And a new survey from the Kaiser Family Foundation finds that after one of the fastest growing years for that program, Medicaid spending growth slowed dramatically in 2012.

Total state Medicaid spending grew by an average of two percent in fiscal 2012, "among the lowest rates of growth ever recorded," according to the study. By contrast, spending in fiscal 2011 rose by 9.7 percent.

Part of the slowdown was due to a recovering economy, which made fewer additional people eligible for the program, the survey found. Part was also due to states imposing their own cost controls on the program, in part stemming from the end of additional temporary federal funding that came as part of the 2009 stimulus law.

And that spending could go down more – a lot more – if Mitt Romney is elected and implements his plan for Medicaid, according to yet another study out this week.

This one, commissioned by the Kaiser Family Foundation and done by researchers for the Urban Institute, looked at the potential impact of implementing the plan approved by the Republican-led House. That's similar to the one Romney is proposing.

The study found that the combination of repealing the Affordable Care Act (which calls for a major expansion of Medicaid) and limiting federal payments for Medicaid could together reduce federal Medicaid spending by $1.7 trillion from 2013 to 2022. That represents a 38 percent cut in federal funding for the program.

The study estimated a range of how many people would lose coverage, depending on how states react. The estimates, however, range from a low of 31.3 million fewer people being covered to 37.5 fewer million people being covered.

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