Katie Beckett fits herself with a vibrating vest that helps clear mucous from her lungs. A nurse comes over to her apartment in Cedar Rapids to help her do this twice a day. On the wall to the right are pictures of Katie as a child with Ronald Reagan. This story starts twenty-nine years ago with an angry President Ronald Reagan. <> We just recently received word of a little girl who has spent most of her life in a hospital. <> The little girl in the hospital was three-year-old Katie Beckett. Because of a brain infection, she needed to be hooked to a ventilator at night to breathe. Her parents wanted her home. Her doctors said she'd be better off at home. And it'd be cheaper, too: Just one-sixth the cost.
Credit John Poole / NPR
Nurse Vicki Hagen comes over to Beckett's apartment in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, to help fit her with a vibrating vest that helps clear mucous from her lungs twice a day. Studies have shown that, almost always, it costs less to care for someone at home than in a nursing home or hospital.
Credit John Poole / NPR
On the wall of her apartment are pictures of Beckett as a child with President Reagan. Reagan created the "Katie Beckett waiver" that changed the Medicaid rules to allow severely disabled children and adults to get government-funded care in their own homes.
Credit John Poole / NPR
Beckett (left) and her mom Julie go to a restaurant in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, once a week to catch up. Beckett is now famous among children's advocates and travels the country with her mom working for laws and programs in favor of homecare.
Credit John Poole / NPR
Katie Beckett, 32, inserts a small suction device into her tracheotomy tube to help clear her lungs and throat. Twenty-nine years ago, President Ronald Reagan heard about a little girl who had spent most of her life in a hospital. That little girl was Katie, then just three years old.
A few years ago, I asked a 13-year-old girl who was receiving care for cystic fibrosis on a Medicaid program known as the "Katie Beckett waiver" if she knew who Katie Beckett was. "Probably some kind of doctor," the girl said.
It was a logical guess. But Beckett was another child with a significant disability, and she changed health care policy for hundreds of thousands of other children with complex medical needs. On Friday, Beckett, at age 34, died in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, of complications from her disability.
This is a classic chain of events that never seems to go out of style in an election year.
First one of the presidential campaigns put out videos that it says are informational but critics say are attack ads. This time, it's President Obama's team and the target is Republican rival Mitt Romney. The point of the spots, such as this one, is to make the case that when Romney ran Bain Capital, some of the companies the investment firm took over ended up shedding jobs rather than creating them.
Antonio Manfredi, director of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Casoria, Italy, burns an artwork by French artist Severine Bourguignon. Manfredi is burning the museum's works to protest deep cuts to the arts.
Credit Christophe Simon / AFP/Getty Images
Italian arts institutions, like Rome's MAXXI museum of contemporary arts, have been hit hard by funding cuts in recent years.
Casoria is a small town in the Naples hinterland known mostly as a hotbed of the local mafia. But last month, it achieved a different kind of notoriety when Antonio Manfredi, director of the Casoria Contemporary Art Museum (CAM) launched his provocative challenge to the Italian Ministry of Culture.
Manfredi's "art war" consists of setting works of art on fire to protest cuts to Italy's arts budget. He's pledged to incinerate two or three pieces of art each week from a museum collection housing about 1,000 exhibits.
From now until November, President Obama and GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney will emphasize their differences. But the two men's lives actually coincide in a striking number of ways. In this installment of NPR's "Parallel Lives" series, a look at Romney's time at their shared alma mater.
When Mitt Romney attacks his Democratic opponent on the campaign trail, he often derides President Obama's Ivy League credentials.
At Forward Operating Base Payne in Afghanistan's Helmand province, Marine Cpl. Jonathan Odriscoll looks at pictures of his sister on Facebook. Troop access to social media has been both a blessing and curse for the military.
Inside a plywood shack at a combat outpost in Marjah, in Afghanistan's Helmand province, three Marines sit before a bank of computers provided by the military to help keep up morale. The dingy outpost is made up of a collection of tents where troops live among swarms of flies and the constant hum of generators.
It turns out we may not know nearly as much about all the money spent on health care in the U.S. as we thought we did.
But there's a new group that wants to, well, remedy that.
The problem, Martin Gaynor, chairman of the Health Care Cost Institute, told Shots, is that "two-thirds of the population has private [health] insurance, but most of the information comes from Medicare."
After a weekend of intense protests, Chicago is bracing for more today. Marking the last day of the NATO summit, protesters planned to demonstrate in front of Boeing headquarters and at a community that could become the site of a detention facility for undocumented immigrants.
After emotional appeals from parents on both sides of the case, Dharun Ravi was this afternoon sentenced to 30 days in jail and three years of probation for bias intimidation and invasion of privacy when he used a webcam to spy on his gay roommate at Rutgers University in September 2010.
I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Coming up, we want to talk about the hottest spring trends, but - no - we're not talking fashion. We're talking about food. Washington Post food critic, Tom Sietsema, gives us a few things to chew on in just a few minutes.
Gregory B. Jaczko, the chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, announced he would resign as soon as his replacement is confirmed.
"After an incredibly productive three years as Chairman, I have decided this is the appropriate time to continue my efforts to ensure public safety in a different forum," Jaczko said in a statement today. "This is the right time to pass along the public safety torch to a new chairman..."
Without commenting on the merits of the case, the Supreme Court this morning let stand a $675,000 jury verdict against a 25-year-old Boston University student who downloaded 30 songs nearly a decade ago and then shared them with others on a peer-to-peer network.
The court denied Joel Tenenbaum's "write of certiorari," which means his appeal of a lower court's ruling and the judgment were turned down.
That's the question of the day along the coast of Southern California as authorities try to figure out how four tons of marijuana — more than 150 bales — got into the Pacific Ocean near Orange County's Dana Point Harbor. They were found this weekend about 15 miles out to sea.
As President Obama and other NATO leaders wrap up a two-day summit today in Chicago, the ongoing dispute with Pakistan over reopening supply routes from that country into Afghanistan threatens to "put a crimp in the Obama administration's efforts to lay out a clear strategy for winding down the war in Afghanistan," NPR's Jackie Northam tells our Newscast desk.
According to the BBC: "At least 63 people have been killed in a suicide bomb attack during a rehearsal for a military parade in the Yemeni capital, Sanaa, officials say. The assailant, who was reportedly wearing an army uniform, blew himself up among a group of soldiers at al-Sabin Square, near the presidential palace."
New York has its first million dollar parking spot. The 12 by 23 foot space in lower Manhattan's East Village comes with its own deed and maintenance fees just like the luxury condo it's attached to. The New York Post calculates the investment this way: It's the same as paying $115 parking ticket every day for the next 24 years.
Ron Paul is not going to be the Republican nominee for president in 2012. You know it, I know it, everyone knows it. Even Ron Paul knows it. His acknowledgement that Mitt Romney will be the nominee is just stating the obvious.
But what exactly did he mean when he said last week that he will "no longer spend resources campaigning in primaries in states that have not voted"? Was he telling us that he was dropping out of the race?
With world leaders gathered for a NATO summit in Chicago, high on their agenda is the future of Afghanistan once Western troops withdraw. Among the leaders there is the president of Pakistan. Pakistan has been keeping NATO from using critical military supply routes running through that country to Afghanistan, something that's irritated NATO countries, whose troops are fighting in Afghanistan.
The TV show House is airing its final episode Monday night on FOX, Desperate Housewives on ABC ended last week and NBC has announced that 30 Rock will have its final episodes this fall. TV and media critic Eric Deggans of the Tampa Bay Times explains why choosing to end a show, rather than getting canceled, presents a creative opportunity for the producers.
A giant of American business goes on trial in New York today. Rajat Gupta is accused of insider trading. He's the one-time chief executive of the consulting firm McKinsey and Company and a former board member of Goldman Sachs.
Prosecutors allege he passed on information about Goldman to billionaire Raj Rajaratnam, who's already in prison for insider trading.
NPR's Jim Zarroli is covering this story from New York. Hi, Jim.
Astronomy buffs in the western U.S. were treated to an eclipse known as the Ring of Fire over the weekend. Technically, it's an annular solar eclipse, during which time the moon passes between the earth and sun. The moon blocks out much of the sun's light and casts a giant shadow on the earth.
Douglas Harlow Brown, 80, of East Lansing, Mich., watches birds inside a medical rehab facility.
Credit Bill Serne for NPR
Marty Clear, 60, is a freelance writer based in Tampa, Fla., who has no health insurance. Last November, Clear went to an emergency room, and doctors discovered a cancerous tumor on his kidney. He's fine, but he says he'll never be able to pay off the resulting bills.
Credit Tom Smart / NPR
Andrew Dasenbrock, 32, was sent to two separate health care facilities owned by the same network and had to submit to, and be billed for, the same tests twice because of their inability to communicate.
Credit David Sanders / For NPR
Aimee Snyder, 28, had a blood clot in her leg that could have killed her. She's fine now, but she's had to pay more than $15,000 in medical bills so far.
Credit Courtesy of Jacki Bronicki
Douglas Harlow Brown, 80, of East Lansing, Mich., with his daughter Jacki Bronicki. After Brown was hospitalized with broken ribs, Bronicki says, his doctors failed to communicate about his medication.
To get a feeling for what being sick in America is really like, and to help us understand the findings of our poll with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard School of Public Health, NPR did a call-out on Facebook. We asked people to share their experiences of the health care system, and within 24 hours, we were flooded with close to 1,000 responses.
Members of Congress are often criticized for what they do — or rather, what they don't do.
But what about what they say and, more specifically, how they say it? It turns out that the sophistication of congressional speech-making is on the decline, according to the open government group the Sunlight Foundation. Since 2005, the average grade level at which members of Congress speak has fallen by almost a full grade.
The shock waves of the Arab Spring continue to reshape countries like Egypt and Syria. But the kingdom of Saudi Arabia remains largely unaffected. King Abdullah and the Saudi ruling family are in firm control of the country's massive oil wealth and Islam's two holiest sites — Mecca and Medina.