The Pulse – June 6, 2014

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    The Veterans Administration is comprised of 320,000 employees, 971 hospitals, and a $165 billion budget all designed to serve some nine-million patients. It’s the largest health services provider in America, which explains why the recent scandal over appointment wait times, that led to the resignation of VA Secretary Eric Shinseki, was such a massive news even in recent weeks. We’re joined this week by Phillip Carter, the director of the veterans research program at the Center for a New American Security to discuss his recent Slate.com article in which he suggested a six-point plan to fix the troubled VA. 

    People everywhere experienced “technical difficulties” in signing up for ACA insurance plans during the implementation of Obamacare, and for many Asian immigrants those problems were compounded by cultural and language barriers. Pulse reporter Elana Gordon reports this week on how many newly covered immigrants now face special hurdles in actually putting their new healthcare coverage to use.

    In recent days, the Obama administration unveiled one of its key initiatives to address climate change. For the first time, the Environmental Protection Agency will regulate carbon dioxide emissions from the nation’s power plants—a major source of greenhouse gas. The overall goal is to lower emissions by a third over the next 15 years by having each state come up with it’s own plan. The EPA wants Pennsylvania to cut its carbon by 32 percent. So… how will they get there? We take a look at the plan.

    First responders arriving at the scene of deadly accidents are often affected by post-traumatic stress, or have trouble coping with the tragedies they witness on their jobs. One year ago, a building on Philadelphia’s Market Street collapsed during a demolition effort, and fell onto the adjacent building. Six people died and 13 were injured in the collapse. Philadelphia firefighter Joe Schulle was part of the rescue efforts. He describes some of his experiences that day and how he and his colleagues deal with the emotional impact of their job.

    They are quiet, economical, and green, but electric cars remain a niche market. President Obama has set a goal for one million electric cars on the road by 2015, but as of April 2014, that number sits at just 200,000—a mere sliver of the millions of cars and trucks sold in the U.S. every year. So, how do innovations like the electric car take hold, especially when infrastructure like charging stations are a big part of the equation? Pulse reporter Zack Seward hit the roads in Philadelphia to find out.

    In this week’s installment of Patient Files—your stories of illness, recovery and coping—political consultant and lobbyist on behalf of medical marijuana, Jay Lassiter tells us how pot has helped him cope with symptoms of HIV.

    Also on the show, Matthew Anderson, a professor of psychology at St. Joseph’s University, researches Caribbean flamingo behavior at the Philadelphia Zoo to find keys to human behavior, we check back in with coral reef researcher Erik Cordes after his trip to the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico, and we drop in on the graduation ceremony of Jefferson University’s medical school and recite the Hippocratic Oath with hundreds of newly minted doctors.

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