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Getting Your Microbes Analyzed Raises Big Privacy Issues

Scientists are asking people to contribute samples of their gut microbes to help figure out how those microbes affect human health. But ethicists say sharing that information, as well as the personal health data that make it useful to researchers, poses risks. That's especially true for children.

Some Amish Opt Out Of Government-Sponsored Insurance

The new health care law states that all individuals must have some kind of health insurance. But what happens when groups oppose insurance on religious grounds? Host Rachel Martin speaks with Dennis Lehman, an Amish man who is the president of an Amish health clinic in Indiana, and Chris Roberson, an attorney in Indianapolis, about how the Amish are dealing with the Affordable Care Act.

Minnesota Reaches Out To Uninsured Latinos, Wherever They Are

Latinos are three times as likely to be uninsured than white Minnesota residents, making them a key demographic for the state's new online health insurance marketplace. Health workers hope to encourage questions and provide answers by heading out onto the streets — and even into hair salons.

With Rise Of Painkiller Abuse, A Closer Look At Heroin

The rate of heroin use is up, and federal data shows that nearly 80 percent of people using the illegal drug had previously abused prescription painkillers. The drugs have similar effects, and curbing painkiller abuse may help stymie the draw to heroin.

How Is White House Handling Debacle?

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius took to Capitol Hill this week to try and explain the botched rollout of the website that is central to implementation of the Affordable Care Act. And despite apologies and mea culpas, the Obama administration is dealing with new questions about its grasp of technology — and even about the president's veracity.

Adding To Insurance Confusion, Outside Groups Try To Cash In

With the federal insurance exchanges still a mess, some uninsured people are turning to local groups to figure out how and where to purchase insurance. In Florida, a lack of coordination among different agencies is leaving room for dubious outfits to enter the scene.

So You Found An Exchange Plan. But Can You Find A Provider?

Many health plans being offered on the New York state insurance marketplace do not include some of New York City's biggest hospitals in their networks. And across the state, many doctors say they are not yet participating in exchange plans at all.

Feds To Ease Restrictions On Flexible Spending Accounts

An estimated 14 million families use these flexible spending accounts, or FSAs. Tied usually to employment at big companies, the accounts let people put aside money before taxes to help pay medical expenses insurance doesn't cover.
NPR's Rocky First Month Leaves Plenty Of Questions

Friday marked one month since the health care exchange marketplace opened. It's unclear how many people have actually enrolled in insurance, how much more the contractors who bungled the software will get paid and whether consumers will be satisfied with the plans they get.

Sorry, Red Sox, Heavy Stubble Beats Beards For Attractiveness

All that beard tugging during the World Series got us thinking: Does facial hair actually make men more attractive? One recent study looked at four levels of beardedness, from a clean shave to full coverage. The effect was subtle, but a clear preference emerged.