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Dr. Jack Wennberg in his Dartmouth office in Lebanon, N.H.
John W. Poole / NPR
October 8, 2009 In the mid-1970s, a health researcher discovered an unusually high rate of hysterectomies in a small town in Maine. If the rate continued, nearly 70 percent of Lewiston women, like Carol Bradford (above), who had a hysterectomy, would be without their wombs by age 70. A major driver of health care costs: a system that pushes doctors to deliver unnecessary care.
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Martha Martin of Durham, Maine, works three jobs and still can't keep up with her family's medical bills. She has medical insurance, but she and her husband can't make all of the payments.
Emilie Sommer for NPR
September 28, 2009 Martha Martin and her husband spent nearly 45 percent of their income on medical costs for their family last year. Like millions of other Americans, they have some insurance, but it doesn't cover enough of their needed care.
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October 4, 2009 Lyn Robinson, 52, is a small-business owner. She says paying health care costs out of pocket leaves her better off than paying for expensive insurance that might not even give her the coverage she wants.
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October 12, 2009 Between television and the Internet, patients today are exposed to a myriad of health information. But more isn't always better. Patients' frequent requests for drugs and procedures are part of what's driving up the costs of health care.
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November 30, 2009 While much of the attention paid to the Senate health bill has been about the public option or financing, there are many lesser-known provisions that would affect consumers, from breast-pumping at work to retiree health benefits.
November 26, 2009 The debate in Washington over how much the health care overhaul bills will cost has largely centered on the bottom line for the federal government. But polls repeatedly show Americans are much more concerned about how a reshaped health care system will affect their own family's financial situation.
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April 19, 2010 A new Pew Research Center survey finds that nearly 80 percent of respondents say they can't trust Washington, and have little faith that the federal bureaucracy can solve the nation's ills. Director Andrew Kohut tells Steve Inskeep that only 22 percent said they can trust the federal government "almost always or most of the time."
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March 25, 2010 Many Americans are trying to figure out how and if the new health care law will affect them. Among them is a 63-year-old man Atlanta man who lost his job and his insurance. For months he has been trying to figure out how to get free or low-cost care. Now the overhaul may put him squarely in line for a subsidy and an affordable plan in an exchange.
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March 10, 2010 As the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops' point man on abortion, Richard Doerflinger has emerged as a major player in the health care debate, one likely to play a pivotal role in the outcome.
January 8, 2010 The tax agency would be responsible for checking whether individuals get required insurance, distributing billions of dollars in subsidies and collecting new taxes and penalties.
January 6, 2010 Legislation would restore Medicaid rights to citizens of the Marshall Islands and two other nations who have the unique ability to travel and work freely in the United States.
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December 24, 2009 Now that the Senate has passed a hotly debated health care bill, Congress is headed to the next step: House-Senate negotiations in January to try to hammer out a final version. Here's where things stand and how you might be affected.
December 21, 2009 The new Senate health bill released by Majority Leader Reid imposes tougher requirements on insurers to spend most premium revenues on medical care, instead of administrative costs, salaries and profits.
December 20, 2009 The COBRA subsidy extension now pending in Congress could be considered in the Senate this weekend.
December 16, 2009 Democrats' health plan would give agencies more power to test and expand promising approaches to holding down costs, but the question remains: Can lawmakers resist interfering in efforts that could hurt incomes of home-state providers?
December 15, 2009 Lou Padilla is good at fixing things. So when he broke his ankle, Padilla decided to set it himself. The locksmith didn't have health insurance, and he says he doesn't need it. Padilla tells us how he gets by without the safety net of insurance.
December 15, 2009 Can a spinoff of the Federal Employee Health Benefits Program help some of the country's uninsured? Experts evaluate a proposal that the Office of Personnel Management, which manages the FEHBP, oversee national health plans.
December 11, 2009 Some of the laid-off workers receiving government help to pay for their COBRA health coverage are seeing those subsidies run out. Congress has yet to vote on an extension and employers and workers are worried about the future.
December 10, 2009 Renowned medical ethicist Dan Callahan confronts the rationing controversy head-on. He says Medicare should determine what benefits it will make available, based on costs and other considerations, and then simply not pay for those that don't pass their tests.
December 9, 2009 Hospitals, doctors and insurers are opposed to allowing people under 65 to join Medicare – an idea being considered by Senate negotiators struggling to put together the 60 votes needed to pass a health bill.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid
Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images
December 7, 2009 To get the necessary 60 votes to pass health overhaul legislation, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid must resolve Democrats' disagreements on the public option, abortion, cost and affordability.
December 3, 2009 Vision and dental benefits might be cut back by employers if the Senate Democrats' so-called "Cadillac tax" on high-cost benefits is passed, according to a new survey.
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