TIME public health

Not All Birth Control Covered by Insurance Companies Under Obamacare

Woman taking birth controll pill
Frank May—picture-alliance/dpa/AP

A new study from the Kaiser Family Foundation finds not all birth control is covered without costs or copays, including some IUDs and emergency contraceptives

Most health insurance companies are offering the free birth control required under the Affordable Care Act, but gaps still remain, according to a new report.

The Kaiser Family Foundation examined 20 health insurance providers in five states and found women are still paying some contraceptives, including vaginal rings, patches and implants.

The free birth control requirement is both a key and controversial piece of President Obama’s signature health law, seen as one of the many ways the law helps lower health costs for women. The report found that while many insurance carriers in California, Georgia, Michigan, New Jersey and Texas are covering contraceptives cost-free, some do not fully cover Depo-Provera shots, the OrthoEvra patch, certain types of intrauterine devices or IUDs, and emergency contraception.

Without coverage, the contraceptives can be expensive. An IUD, for example, costs up to $1,000—which means that without insurance coverage, one of the most effective forms of birth control is unavailable to some of the women who want to use it.

“We encourage the administration to provide guidance and clarity to insurance companies to ensure all women can access the birth control methods that work for them without cost barriers, as the law intended,” Cecile Richards, the president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, said in a statement.

The Kaiser report notes that insurance carriers are permitted to limit the forms of birth control they cover under Obamacare, but the companies should still offer leeway to consumers who have a medical need for certain devices, the report found.

The report also found that despite the widespread attention to the effect the contraceptive mandate would have on religious institutions that oppose birth control, few groups have applied for a religious exception to the law.

Read more: Why You’re Still Paying for Birth Control Even Though It’s ‘Free’ Now

TIME ebola

Ebola Fighters Say Now Is Not the Time to Let Up

Barack Obama, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Alpha Condé
Manuel Balce Ceneta—AP President Barack Obama, flanked by Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, left, and Guinean President Alpha Condé, speaks in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington, Wednesday, April 15, 2015, to discuss the progress made in the international Ebola response.

Cases may be nearing zero in certain areas, but the threat of the disease lingers

There were only 37 confirmed cases of Ebola last week, just a year after the deadly virus was spreading quickly across Western Africa. But key stakeholders in the effort to reduce the number of cases to zero said Thursday that success is not guaranteed.

“We are dealing now with the most difficult areas,” said Bruce Aylward, the assistant director-general of polio and emergencies at the World Health Organization. “We’re dealing with issues of fear, of trust with communities that have been marginalized. That have not been fully engaged.”

Alyward added, “These are issues that take time to resolve.” What’s more, the most affected areas are nearing their annual rainy season in April and May, which could exacerbate the disease’s spread. And, Alyward says, the eradication effort is running out of money.

“The only thing that’s falling faster than this graphic right here,” he said, holding up a chart that showed new confirmed cases, “is the one that shows you new financial contributions.”

The message on Thursday was clear: in the fight against Ebola, there’s no room for complacency. That’s not to say there hasn’t been progress. There has been a decline in new cases over the past several weeks and Liberia is inching closer to zero cases. In Sierra Leone, there were nine cases this past week and the week before. In Guinea, the situation is more mixed—there were 28 cases this week, up from 21 the week before. In an effort to keep numbers low, the government instituted a four-day stay-at-home policy in the most infected area so that teams can go to homes and share information.

Alyward, who joined WHO Director General Margaret Chan and others for a roundtable briefing at the United Nations Foundation on Thursday, said it’s important to keep up the fight, because if a single case or contact is missed, the community will suffer the consequences.

That message was similar to one that President Obama reiterated before meeting with leaders from Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea at the White House on Wednesday. “We can’t be complacent. This virus is unpredictable,” Obama said. “We have to be vigilant, and the international community has to remain fully engaged in a partnership with these three countries until there are no cases of Ebola in these countries.”

Presidents from the three countries will also appear Friday with World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim to discuss the continued effort to get to zero. The meetings and appearances on the Ebola effort come in the wake of a scathing New York Times report that said the U.S.’s response to the crisis was too much, too late. Few of the treatment centers the U.S. military spent resources and manpower to complete have been put to use, the report found.

David Nabarro, who has organized the UN’s response to Ebola, said Thursday the American response should be commended. “This immediate and rapid response by the U.S. to use military to build treatment centers was amazing,” he said. “Instead of feeling abandoned by the world, they felt there was a group who believed they were worth supporting.”

TIME

Vanessa Williams on How to Make the Perfect First Impression—On the Phone

The actress has partnered with Dress for Success

The non-profit organization Dress for Success has a long-held mantra: first impressions matter. That’s why it has dedicated ample time and resources to making sure women, no matter how disadvantaged, look and sound the part when they go in for job interviews.

But, times have changed. Often, the first meeting doesn’t come when in applicant walks into an interview room. It happens over the phone or on Skype. For Dress for Success CEO Joi Gordon, this change in hiring tactics has provided both a problem and an opportunity.

“We’ve already addressed the clothing aspects of how they look and how they feel and giving her the self-confidence and self-worth of walking into the interview,” Gordon tells TIME. “But if she doesn’t get to walk into the interview because her phone technique is poor and she doesn’t get the interview then we need to address that first.”

So, that’s what they’re going to do. In early April, Dress for Success launched “Success is Calling” a partnership with the wireless provider Tracfone that will provide women in 15 cities with phone-interview training and helpful tips. As a part of the program participants will also receive a complementary phone with a year’s worth of minutes. Gordon says the phone is a key piece: the women who use Dress for Success tend to be single moms, often coming from abusive or rocky relationships.

“She needs to be connected to her children and she needs to be connected to her employer,” Gordon says. “Tracfone is going to allow her to do just that.”

Though the program launches officially on June 1, the campaign already has the backing of one highly successful woman—Vanessa Williams.

Williams, who has worked with Dress for Success for over a decade, says though she’s lucky to have had parents who encouraged her to be successful, she feels it is important to help women who weren’t so lucky to get a fair shot.

“This is an opportunity for women who don’t have that background to have a better chance to be employed and feel better about themselves,” Williams tells TIME. “It will take much more time, attention and resolve to truly level the playing field in the workplace for women and men alike.”

TIME 2016 Election

Ben Carson Set to Answer Question of Presidential Run on May 4

Key Speakers At The Conservative Political Action Conference
Andrew Harrer—Bloomberg/Getty Images Ben Carson, possible 2016 presidential candidate, listens to a question during an interview during the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland, Feb. 26, 2015.

The Tea Party favorite is making a 'major announcement' in his hometown of Detroit

Ben Carson may be throwing his hat into the race to the White House as soon as May, according to reports.

On May 4, Carson will host an event at the Detroit Music Hall Center for the Performing Arts where his campaign tells the Detroit Free Press he will make a major announcement.

The exact details of the announcement have yet to be ironed out, according to CNN. But given the retired neurosurgeon’s appearances in key primary states over the past several months, it’s likely that he’ll announce his plans to seek the Republican presidential nomination in 2016.

The location is of significance for Carson, who grew up poor in the Motor City, but later grew up to become a renowned brain surgeon and author. Despite his lack of political experience, Carson is favored among some grassroots conservative groups for being an outspoken critic of President Obama’s policies — particularly the Affordable Care Act, which he once likened to slavery.

[Detroit Free Press]

TIME 2016 Election

Poll: Chris Christie Losing New Jersey Support for 2016 Bid

Chris Christie
Mel Evans—AP A person photographs New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie during a town hall meeting April 7, 2015, in Matawan, N.J.

69% of polled New Jersey voters think he wouldn't make a good president

New Jersey voters are losing faith in their governor’s potential to be a “good president.”

About 69% of New Jersey voters in a new Rutgers University poll say Gov. Chris Christie would not make a good president, a ten point leap from a February poll. About 24% say they think he has what it takes.

Christie is one of many Republicans expected to enter the race for 2016 in the coming months, joining Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas, Rand Paul of Kentucky, and Marco Rubio of Florida who have already announced their plans to seek the nomination. Former Gov. Jeb Bush and Gov. Scott Walker are also expected to join the race soon.

Though the poll represents a relatively small sample of New Jersey voters and hosts a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points, it offers a glimpse at how voters from New Jersey feel about their governor’s potential campaign.

Though 58% of those polled don’t think the word “presidential” at all describes the governor (38% say it describes him pretty well), the majority, 57%, believes he will still become a presidential candidate. Thirty-two percent, on the other hand, do not.

And while New Jersey voters are important for Christie, the real test will come in early primary and caucus states like New Hampshire, where the governor will begin hosting a series of town-hall events with voters on Tuesday.

TIME Nigeria

Report: Boko Haram Abducts 2,000 Women and Girls Since Start of 2014

Amnesty International released report on one-year anniversary of the Chibok kidnappings

The terrorist organization Boko Haram has abducted at least 2,000 women and girls since the start of 2014, according to a new report released to mark the first anniversary of the group’s notorious kidnapping of over 200 Nigerian schoolgirls from the town of Chibok.

Many of the thousands of abducted women have been sold into sex slavery and trained for battle since 2014, the Amnesty International report found. Men and boys have also been taken to join in the Islamist extremist group’s fighting across Nigeria.

Boko Haram has killed at least 5,500 Nigerians during the past year, the report said. The group boasts about 15,000 fighters whose tactics include taking kidnapped women and girls to remote camps where they are introduced to the group’s version of the Islamic faith. From there they can be either married off to fighters or trained to join them. Either way, according to interviews in the report, women and girls can fall victim to brutalization and rape.

Amnesty International is hopeful that a new government in Nigeria, elected in March, will offer a fresh approach to combating the group, which it says has not been properly investigated and prosecuted thus far.

Nigerian President-elect Muhammadu Buhari promised to crack down on the group Tuesday. “We hear the anguish of our citizens and intend to respond accordingly,” his statement said.

TIME White House

Obama Can Soon Say He’s Been to All 50 States as President

After he gives a college commencement speech next month

President Obama will be able to check visiting all 50 states off his unofficial presidential bucket list before he leaves office.

In May, President Obama will deliver the commencement address at Lake Area Technical Institute, one of the nation’s top ranking community colleges that just happens to be located in the only state the President has yet to visit: South Dakota. Obama visited his 49th state while in office earlier this month, Utah, but at the time no plans were announced for a trip to the 50th. That left many South Dakotans anxious, including Secretary of Tourism Jim Hagen, who offered suggestions of things Obama could do in the Mount Rushmore State.

Though it doesn’t look like the President will be visiting South Dakota for the highly anticipated Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in August, the school’s administration is eager to host him at the Class of 2015 commencement. “Imagine how meaningful obtaining your college degree becomes when the President of the United States is your commencement speaker,” said Mike Cartney, President of Lake Area Technical Institute, in a statement.

The school has been recognized by the White House before, having participated in a Champions of Change event in 2011. It was also named a finalist with distinction in three Aspen Institute Community College competitions.

Read next: This Is the Only State Obama Hasn’t Visited as President

TIME Hillary Clinton

President Obama Likes Hillary Clinton, But Won’t Yet Endorse

Hillary Clinton Announces 2016 Presidential Bid - Washington
AP Video still of Hillary Rodham Clinton announcing that she will seek the presidency for a second time, immediately establishing herself as the likely 2016 Democratic nominee on April 12, 2015.

He's waiting

To be clear: President Obama likes Hillary Clinton and thinks she would be an “excellent President,” but he’s not endorsing her yet.

Although Obama personally praised his former Secretary of State during a press conference Saturday, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said Monday that he’s not offering a full-blown endorsement of her nascent presidential campaign just yet.

“The two of them have become friends, but there are other people who are friends of the president who may decide to enter the race,” Earnest said. An endorsement, he said, would likely come from the president after Democratic voters pick a nominee.

Earnest said he wasn’t aware of whether or not the President received a “specific heads up” about Clinton’s announcement, which came via a video released Sunday afternoon. The two met face-to-face a couple weeks back, but Earnest did not say if they spoke about her campaign rollout at the time.

The President and the lone-Democratic candidate in the race to 2016 also have a similar week ahead. Both will spend the week touting the importance of strengthening economic opportunity for the middle class and for women and fixes to the tax code. Obama will make his case from Washington and at an event in North Carolina. Clinton, however, has hit the road to Iowa where she’s set to make local stops this week. Reporters hinted at the coincidence at Monday’s press briefing, but Earnest insists it shouldn’t be surprising.

“This is an indication that the priorities that the president has championed are consistent with the values that most Democrats share,” Earnest said.

Read next: Meet the People From Hillary Clinton’s Launch Video

Listen to the most important stories of the day.

TIME Foreign Relations

President Obama Phones Cuban Leader, White House Confirms

President Barack Obama makes his way to Air Force One before departing from Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland on April 8, 2015.
Mandel Ngan—AFP/Getty Images President Barack Obama makes his way to Air Force One before departing from Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland on April 8, 2015

The two spoke via telephone on Wednesday

President Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro have spoken on the phone for the second time, a White House official confirmed, in a historic move that comes amid improved relations between the U.S. and Cuba.

The conversation took place Wednesday, before the President left for his trip to Jamaica and Panama, where this weekend’s Summit of the Americas offers an opportunity for Obama and Castro to have a face-to-face meeting. No further details of the discussion were provided.

All eyes have been on Cuba and U.S. relations throughout the President’s travels this week. It has been four months since the White House announced that the U.S. would be taking a new approach to Cuban policy after decades of tension.

Obama and Castro could sit down for a meeting as soon as Saturday, reports say, but the White House has not said that a formal meeting is scheduled. The U.S. may also soon announce that Cuba will be removed from the State Department’s list of terror sponsors, a lingering sore spot in the relationship between the nations.

In another sign of change, Secretary of State John Kerry and Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez also sat down for a meeting on Thursday.

TIME Crime

Video Shows Cop Fatally Shooting Schizophrenic Man, Family Says

Catherine Daniels, the mother of Lavall Hall, 25, who was shot and killed by Miami Gardens police on Feb. 15, 2015,
Joe Raedle—Getty Images Catherine Daniels, the mother of Lavall Hall, 25, who was shot and killed by Miami Gardens police on Feb. 15, 2015,

Police can be heard telling Lavall Hall, 25, to “get the f--- on the ground or you’re dead"

The family of a 25-year-old mentally ill man who was shot dead by police in Miami Gardens, Fla. earlier this year released a 19-minute video on Wednesday showing the fatal shooting.

Lavall Hall’s mother called police on Feb. 15 for help with her son, who she said has been diagnosed with schizophrenia, and when police arrived they found Hall outside the home in only his underwear, carrying a broomstick, attorneys for the family said at a press conference on Wednesday.

Hall’s mother had hoped police would take her son to a hospital. The family’s attorneys say police officers then approached Hall with excessive force.

In the dash-cam video, posted below, police can be heard telling Hall to “get the f— on the ground or you’re dead.” One officer then backs into the frame, firing five shots at Hall.

Police say Hall attacked them with deadly force, which is why they shot him. The family has filed a lawsuit against the police department and local authorities are investigating.

The Florida State Attorney’s office told ABC News they feared the video would hurt the ongoing investigation into the shooting, but they could not stop the family from releasing the footage.

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