Workers process applications for Oregon's health exchange program. The state paid tech giant Oracle to build its online exchange, but with the site still not functional, people shopping for insurance have been forced to apply on paper.
Oregon has spent more than $40 million to build its own online health care exchange. It gave that money to a Silicon Valley titan, Oracle, but the result has been a disaster of missed deadlines, a nonworking website and a state forced to process thousands of insurance applications on paper.
Some Oregon officials were sounding alarms about the tech company's work on the state's online health care exchange as early as last spring. Oracle was behind schedule and, worse, didn't seem able to offer an estimate of what it would take to get the state's online exchange up and running.
More than 1 million people will see their extended unemployment benefits immediately cut off at the end of the month if Congress doesn't act.
An emergency federal benefit program was put in place during the recession to help those who are unemployed longer than six months. That allowed them to get as much as a year and a half of help while they searched for work, even after state benefits ran out.
Originally published on Tue December 3, 2013 8:39 am
"There's our ship!" says Officer Lisa Sacco.
We're standing at the Port of Miami, where Sacco works for U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Our ship, the Hansa Kirkenes, left Cartagena, Colombia, about a week earlier carrying all 6,078 of the Planet Money women's T-shirts.
There are more than 4,000 garment factories in Bangladesh. One way or another, most of them trace their lineage to Abdul Majid Chowdhury, Noorul Quader and the 128 Bangladeshis who traveled to Korea 30 years ago.
This is the guy who did the original deal with Daewoo, to start a major garment factory in Chittagong with Korean characteristics. Back then, Daewoo was a big T-shirt maker out of South Korea. The garment industry owners in Bangladesh are grateful to this man.
Originally published on Thu December 5, 2013 1:22 am
Bangladesh was created out of chaos in the early 1970s, at a moment when millions in the country were dying from a combination of war and famine. The future looked exceedingly bleak.
Abdul Majid Chowdhury and Noorul Quader were Bangladeshi businessmen who wanted to help their country. "We asked ourselves, 'What the hell do we want?' " Chowdhury recalls. The answer he and his friends arrived at: "We need employment. We need dollars."
Their solution involved Richard Nixon, an obscure but hugely influential trade deal, and a cultural struggle over kimchi.
Workers pull merchandise as it arrives at the Amazon.com's 1.2 million square foot fulfillment center in Phoenix on Nov. 26. Americans clicked away on their computers and smartphones for deals on Cyber Monday, which is expected to be the biggest online shopping day in history.
Originally published on Mon December 2, 2013 1:50 pm
The term Cyber Monday wasn't established until 2005, but online shopping was popular even in the early days of the Internet.
Analysts questioned how business models would have to change. Retail stores came up with new partnerships to help lure buyers into an online shopping world. A little company called Amazon helped us feel comfortable buying items online. And the simple perk of "free shipping" tried to make a dent in holiday sales.
Cyber Monday, Small Business Saturday, Black Friday... will all the steals and deals be enough to actually boost the nation's economy? To find out, host Michel Martin speaks with Sudeep Reddy of The Wall Street Journal.
"Every measure of well-being and opportunity, the foundation is where you live...cancer rates, asthma rates, infant mortality, unemployment, education, access to fresh food, access to parks, whether or not the city repairs the roads in your neighborhood," ProPublica's Nikole Hannah-Jones said.
Originally published on Mon December 2, 2013 4:08 pm
It's not something we think about a lot or something that gets reported on often, but once you start digging around some, it's hard not to see the consequences of our country's long, sordid history of housing discrimination everywhere racial disparities manifest. The giant wealth gap between black and Latino Americans and white folks. Shorter life expectancies. Worse educational outcomes. Mass incarceration.
Originally published on Mon December 2, 2013 11:07 am
Tambra Momi has been eagerly awaiting the promise of guaranteed health insurance.
Since 2011, she has battled Dercum's disease, a rare and painful condition in which noncancerous tumors sprout throughout her body, pressing against nerves.
Jobless and in a wheelchair, Momi needs nine different drugs, including one costing $380 a month, to control the pain and side effects. No insurer has been willing to cover her, she says, except a few that have taken her money and then refused to pay for her medications.
Originally published on Mon December 2, 2013 11:21 am
Amazon is looking at drastically reducing its delivery times — to 30 minutes or less — as it plans a new service called Prime Air that it says could debut in a few years. In an interview on CBS' 60 Minutes, CEO Jeff Bezos said the giant online retailer plans to use semi-autonomous drones to carry purchases to customers.
That's got tech experts buzzing about whether the idea will fly.
Our Planet Money team is making a T-shirt and following the shirt around the world as it gets manufactured — from the farms where the cotton is grown to the factories where the shirts are sewn together. All this week on Morning Edition and All Things Considered we'll be hearing stories about the fascinating world behind that T-shirt.