For decades, the primary goal of those who would fix the U.S. health system has been to help people without insurance get coverage. Now, it seems, all that may be changing. At least some top Republicans are trying to steer the health debate away from the problem of the uninsured.
The shift in emphasis is a subtle one, but it's noticeable.
Timothy Ray Brown, shown in May 2011 with his dog Jack in San Francisco, is the only man ever known to have been fully cured from AIDS. Brown is known as the "Berlin patient" because he had a bone marrow transplant in a German hospital five years ago.
The so-called Berlin patient is famously the only person in the world who has been cured of HIV. But he may soon have company.
Two people in Boston also seem to be free of HIV after undergoing bone marrow transplants for cancer, just as the Berlin patient did five years ago. The crucial difference is that the Boston patients have not yet stopped taking anti-HIV drugs — although that may happen in the coming months.
A mobile clinic set up to test students for HIV is parked near Madwaleni High School in Mtubatuba, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa on March 8, 2011. Parts of the South African province have HIV rates that are more than twice the national average.
Credit Stephane de Sakutin / AFP/Getty Images
A drop of blood from a finger-prick is all that's needed to test for HIV. A nurse draws a sample from a student in a mobile clinic on March 8, 2011 in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.
The province of KwaZulu-Natal has emerged as the epicenter of South Africa's HIV epidemic. South Africa already has more people infected with HIV than any other country in the world, but parts of KwaZulu-Natal have HIV rates that are more than twice the national average.
Now in addition to HIV and AIDS, the province is also dealing with a major tuberculosis epidemic.
In the northeastern part of KwaZulu-Natal, dusty dirt tracks wind through pastures and fields of sugar cane. The hillsides are dotted with small huts made of cinder blocks and field stones.
There's currently no cure for Parkinson's, a debilitating neurological disease. There's also no blood test that can detect it, meaning early intervention is almost impossible.
But soon there might be a shockingly easy way to screen for Parkinson's disease. It would be as simple as picking up the telephone and saying "ahhh."
"There's some evidence, admittedly weak, that voice disturbances may well be one of the first or early indicator of the disease," mathematician Max Little tells weekends on All Things Considered host Guy Raz.
Maybe you've agreed to be an organ donor. There might be something on your driver's license — a red heart, a pink dot or the word "Donor" — to show it. That also means you've very likely agreed — even if you don't realize it — to donate more than just your organs.
I know that I'm an organ donor. I signed up years ago, when I renewed my driver's license. But I had no idea that I'd also signed up to donate my tissue. That is, until Laura Siminoff, a professor at Virginia Commonwealth University's medical school, explained it to me.
Dr. Lisa Sterman holds up a Truvada pill at her office in San Francisco in May. Even before the Food and Drug Administration's approval, Sterman had prescribed Truvada for about a dozen patients at high risk for developing AIDS.
The Food and Drug Administration has given the first OK for a drug to prevent HIV infection.
The daily pill Truvada, made by Gilead Sciences, combines two medicines that inhibit the reproduction of HIV. It's been a mainstay in the treatment of HIV/AIDS for years, and as of today is an approved option for reducing the risk of HIV infection for people at high risk.
Ten people were hospitalized and one was found dead after contracting staph infections from injections received at health clinics in Delaware and Arizona in early spring, according the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
The infection clusters were described in the latest Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
With a vote of 244 to 185, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives just voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act, President Obama's signature domestic legislation known colloquially as "Obamacare."
Of course, the vote doesn't matter, because the measure has a very slim chance of being adopted by the Senate.
The AP reports that this is the "33rd time in 18 months that the tea party-infused GOP majority has tried to scrap, defund or scale back the law since grabbing the majority."
The Supreme Court's decision to uphold the health-care law will change peoples' lives. On today's show, we talk to a few of those people.
When the ruling came down, we were visiting people who work at a health insurance agency in Connecticut. The Court's ruling means the company needs to find a new line of business or close down altogether. (Here's more on our visit.)
In 2010, there were 78 million adults classified as obese in the United States, and roughly 164,000 primary care doctors to take care of them.
It doesn't take a math wizard to figure out that doctors who handle routine care, although they may well want to help their patients lose weight, are unlikely to have the time to provide the kind of intensive coaching to that would help their patients make a lasting change.
Researchers are studying the ability of beneficial micro-organisms - or probiotics - to treat a range of conditions from eczema to inflammatory bowel disease. And the idea that "good" bacteria are healthy for us is gaining traction.