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 veggies 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.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit

After an international tribunal invalidated Beijing's claims to the South China Sea, Chinese authorities have declared in no uncertain terms that they will be ignoring the ruling.

The Philippines brought the case to the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, objecting to China's claims to maritime rights in the disputed waters. The tribunal agreed that China had no legal authority to claim the waters and was infringing on the sovereign rights of the Philippines.

Donald Trump is firing back at Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg after she disparaged him in several media interviews. He tweeted late Tuesday that she "has embarrassed all" with her "very dumb political statements" about the candidate. Trump ended his tweet with "Her mind is shot - resign!":


Insurer's Files Show Big Cost Differences For Same Illnesses

Sep 5, 2012

Yes, we've seen this before: a study showing large spending disparities to treat similar ailments and little if any link between expenditure and effectiveness.

What's different about a new analysis is the patients.

Many reports on cost and quality disparity (the best known is the Dartmouth Atlas of Health Care) are based on data from the government's Medicare program for seniors. But one published in the latest issue of Health Affairs focuses on care provided by nearly 250,000 doctors treating non-elderly patients insured by UnitedHealthcare from 2006 through part of 2009.

Some of the cost variations are startling. For treating a basic asthma episode, cases in the 10th percentile of distribution cost $98 each while those in the 90th percentile the cost was $1,535 per case. As usual, the study's authors, all of whom work for UnitedHealthcare or a sister company, attempted to adjust for case severity. That means you can't explain the difference by saying expensive patients were 15 times sicker than the cheap ones.

Migraine sufferers in the 10th percentile got treated for $94 while those in the 90th percentile cost the system $2,006. Expense for treating high blood pressure ran from $149 to $1,469 per episode.

The cost disparity for major procedures was smaller. But the dollars were larger. Bills for implanting a drug-coated coronary artery stent were $16,092 in the 10th percentile and $36,487 in the 90th — more than twice as much. Uncomplicated baby deliveries ranged from $6,149 to $12,090.

Like previous studies based on Medicare claims, the study also found wide variation in costs in different geographical areas. But bigger price tags didn't buy better outcomes. "We found essentially no correlation between average costs and the measured level of care quality across markets," the authors wrote.

The researchers studied doctors who had already been identified as providing higher-quality care, demonstrating large variability even within that group. However, some who received good scores for both quality and efficiency delivered care costing about 14 percent less compared with that of other doctors.

"Changing incentives through payment reforms could help to improve performance, but providers are at different stages of readiness for such reforms," the authors conclude.

Translation: The medical value equation is still far from being solved.

Copyright 2012 Kaiser Health News. To see more, visit