Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton was in Springfield, Ill., Wednesday where she sought to use the symbolism of a historic landmark to draw parallels to a present-day America that is in need of repairing deepening racial and cultural divides.

The Old State Capitol — where Abraham Lincoln delivered his famous "A house divided" speech in 1858 warning against the ills of slavery and where Barack Obama launched his presidential bid in 2007 — served as the backdrop for Clinton as she spoke of how "America's long struggle with race is far from finished."

Episode 711: Hooked on Heroin

1 hour ago

When we meet the heroin dealer called Bone, he has just shot up. He has a lot to say anyway. He tells us about his career--it pretty much tracks the evolution of drug use in America these past ten years or so. He tells us about his rough past. And he tells us about how he died a week ago. He overdosed on his own supply and his friend took his body to the emergency room, then left.

New British Prime Minister Theresa May announced six members of her Cabinet Wednesday.

Amid a sweeping crackdown on dissent in Egypt, security forces have forcibly disappeared hundreds of people since the beginning of 2015, according to a new report from Amnesty International.

It's an "unprecedented spike," the group says, with an average of three or four people disappeared every day.

The Republican Party, as it prepares for its convention next week has checked off item No. 1 on its housekeeping list — drafting a party platform. The document reflects the conservative views of its authors, many of whom are party activists. So don't look for any concessions to changing views among the broader public on key social issues.

Many public figures who took to Twitter and Facebook following the murder of five police officers in Dallas have faced public blowback and, in some cases, found their employers less than forgiving about inflammatory and sometimes hateful online comments.

As Venezuela unravels — with shortages of food and medicine, as well as runaway inflation — President Nicolas Maduro is increasingly unpopular. But he's still holding onto power.

"The truth in Venezuela is there is real hunger. We are hungry," says a man who has invited me into his house in the northwestern city of Maracaibo, but doesn't want his name used for fear of reprisals by the government.

The wiry man paces angrily as he speaks. It wasn't always this way, he says, showing how loose his pants are now.

Ask a typical teenage girl about the latest slang and girl crushes and you might get answers like "spilling the tea" and Taylor Swift. But at the Girl Up Leadership Summit in Washington, D.C., the answers were "intersectional feminism" — the idea that there's no one-size-fits-all definition of feminism — and U.N. climate chief Christiana Figueres.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Arizona Hispanics Poised To Swing State Blue

4 hours ago
Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Pages

Part-Time Workers Search New Exchanges For Health Insurance

Oct 4, 2013
Originally published on October 4, 2013 4:26 pm

Across the U.S., many part-time workers have joined the millions shopping for coverage in the new health care marketplace. Some are uninsured. Others are being pushed into the new exchanges because their employers — companies that include Trader Joe's and Home Depot — decided to drop coverage for part-timers.

"Jaime," for example, is a nursing student who lives in Redlands, Calif., and works 20 to 25 hours per week at a local Home Depot. (He asked that his last name not be used, fearing repercussions at work.) Jaime spends almost $4,000 a year for a health insurance policy that Home Depot offers to part-timers, covering both him and his wife. But the company will stop offering that benefit at the end of this year because it says the coverage doesn't meet the standards of the Affordable Care Act.

So Jaime has been shopping for a policy on the California exchange, and says he's pleasantly surprised. "The program would be an improvement," he says, because the policy costs about the same as his old plan, but there are no lifetime caps on coverage like there were on the Home Depot policy.

Most corporate-sponsored health care plans for part-time workers don't provide very good coverage, says Larry Levitt, senior vice president of the Kaiser Family Foundation, and an expert of the new health care marketplaces. And workers for companies like Trader Joe's, which has a fairly good health plan for part-timers, may suddenly find they can do better.

"It's very likely that these part-time workers will get a better deal in the new marketplaces," Levitt says. Trader Joe's, for example, will offer cash to part-timers starting in January to help pay for their insurance, and many of the workers will be eligible for tax credits to help them pay their premiums. "So they're likely to be much better off," Levitt says.

Trader Joe's says it believes 70 percent of its part-time workers will pay less for comparable coverage in the health care exchanges. But that leaves 30 percent who could pay more, including "Jane," a student and mother of two. "It's really disheartening," she says. I'm absolutely disappointed by it."

Jane, who didn't want her real name used because the company discourages its employees from talking to the press, works fewer than 30 hours a week at a Trader Joe's in Austin, Texas.

"I would say that the insurance that I get through Trader Joe's right now is some of the best insurance that I've received as an adult," she says.

Trying to match that coverage and price hasn't been easy. Jane hasn't yet been able to get a firm quote from healthcare.gov, but says her best estimate so far has been disappointing: a premium of at least $350 a month --$4,200 a year — for her family of four.

"[That's] versus the $200 a month I'm paying right now," she says. "And that's not even taking into account the difference in benefits."

And Jane says she's troubled by the results from another calculator on the Kaiser Family Foundation website that estimates the family's annual premiums will be more than $9,500. That's partly because the site judges that her family isn't eligible for any state subsidies.

"As a resident of Texas, either way I look at it, I'm getting a reduction in benefits and an increase in price by moving to the government exchange," Jane says.

One reason may be that Texas, like a number of other states, has not expanded its Medicaid program. Levitt says that's led to a sort of Catch-22.

"In states that don't expand Medicaid," Levitt says, "you end up with this 'gap group' — people who are not poor enough or don't have the right family circumstances to qualify for Medicaid but, ironically, don't make enough to qualify for tax credits."

So, says Levitt, whether you're going to be better off in the government marketplaces can have a lot to do with what state you live in. Still he says, in general, the exchanges will benefit part-time workers.

Employers are not required to provide coverage for these workers, Levitt says, "and they are likely better off getting subsidized coverage in the marketplace."

And, he adds, it's likely that the exchanges will benefit from an influx of part-time workers, since they tend to be younger and healthier than average.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Now more on one federal program that is operating. Millions of people are shopping for health insurance at online marketplaces created by the Affordable Care Act.

Among them, part-time workers: some are uninsured, others are being pushed into the new exchanges by their employers. Companies like Trader Joe's and Home Depot decided to drop coverage for part-time employees.

Here's NPR's John Ydstie.

JOHN YDSTIE, BYLINE: Jaime is a nursing student who lives in Redlands, California.

JAIME: And I work at Home Depot part-time, about 20 to 25 hours per week.

YDSTIE: Jaime, who doesn't want us to use his last name, spends almost $4,000 a year for a health insurance policy that Home Depot offers to part-timers. It covers both him and his wife. But the company will stop offering that benefit at the end of the year, because, it says, the coverage doesn't meet the standards of the Affordable Care Act. So, Jaime has been shopping for a policy on the California exchange, and he says he's pleasantly surprised.

JAIME: The program would be an improvement.

YDSTIE: That's because the new policy would cost about the same as his old plan, but there are no lifetime caps on his coverage like there were on the Home Depot policy. Larry Levitt is senior vice president of the Kaiser Family Foundation and an expert on the new health care marketplaces. He says most corporate-sponsored health care plans for part-time workers don't provide very good coverage, though Trader Joe's did offer a solid plan.

LARRY LEVITT: It's very likely that these part-time workers will get a better deal in the new marketplaces. In the case of Trader Joe's, they'll be getting some extra cash from the company to help pay for their insurance, and many of them will be eligible for tax credits to help them pay their premiums. So they're likely to be much better off.

YDSTIE: Trader Joe's says it believes 70 percent of its part-time workers will pay less for comparable coverage in the health care exchanges. But that leaves 30 percent who could pay more, including this student and mother of two who we'll call Jane.

JANE: It's really disheartening. I'm absolutely disappointed by it.

YDSTIE: Jane works less than 30 hours a week at Trader Joe's in Austin, Texas. She didn't want her real named used because the company discourages its employees from talking to the press.

JANE: I would say that the insurance that I get through Trader Joe's right now is some of the best insurance that I've received as an adult.

YDSTIE: Trying to match that coverage and price hasn't been easy. Jane hasn't been able to get a firm quote from healthcare.gov, and so far, her best estimate is disappointing.

JANE: At the absolute least, $350 a month versus the $200 a month that I'm paying right now. And that's not even taking into account the difference in benefits.

YDSTIE: That's about $4,200 a year for her family of four. And Jane says she's troubled by the results from another calculator on the Kaiser Family Foundation website. It estimates that the family's annual premiums will be more than $9,500. That's partly because the site judges that her family isn't eligible for any state subsidies.

JANE: As a resident of Texas, either way I look at it, I'm getting a reduction in benefits and an increase in price by moving to the government exchange.

YDSTIE: One reason may be that Texas, like a number of other states, has not expanded its Medicaid program. Kaiser's Larry Levitt says that's led to a sort of catch-22.

LEVITT: In states that don't expand Medicaid, you end up with this gap group, people who are not poor enough or don't have the right family circumstances to qualify for Medicaid, but ironically don't make enough to qualify for tax credits.

YDSTIE: So, says Levitt, whether you're going to be better off in the government marketplaces can have a lot to do with what state you live in. Still, he says, in general, the exchanges will benefit part-time workers.

LEVITT: These are folks who employers are not required to provide coverage to. And, you know, they are likely better off getting subsidized coverage in the marketplaces.

YDSTIE: And, Levitt says, it's likely the exchanges will benefit from an influx of part-time workers, since they tend to be younger and healthier than average. John Ydstie, NPR News, Washington. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.