CARL AZUZ, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome to CNN STUDENT NEWS. Three years and seven months since he signed it. The debate hasn`t let up about President Obama`s health care reform law. What is it, what does it do? What`s the controversy? We`re starting at the beginning.
The official name is the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, but most people, including the president call it Obamacare. The goal was to make it easier and more affordable for millions of Americans who didn`t have health insurance to get it. Different health insurance plans cover different things, but they all fundamentally work the same: If you have health insurance you pay money into a fund and then the health care company used that fund to help pay for customer`s medical services. President Obama started work on his health care reform law right after he took office. Protests against his plan started almost immediately. One point of controversy earlier on was the individual mandate. It`s part of the law that requires most Americans to either have health insurance or pay a fine. Critics filed lawsuits arguing that was unconstitutional. The U.S. Supreme Court disagreed and upheld Obamacare. The bill became law in March of 2010. The controversy didn`t stop. There are concerns about the high cost of Obamacare, and its potentially negative effects on the U.S. economy.
Republicans and some Democrats in the House of Representatives have voted multiple times to repeal the law and polls indicate that more Americans are opposed to the law than support it. Different parts of the law go into effect at different times. This month, Americans are able to start signing up for health insurance under Obamacare. White House officials say that nearly 500,000 people have filled out applications, 7 million are expected to enroll by April, but so far the process hasn`t gone smoothly.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (inaudible) the debt ceiling debate and the government shutdown, another Washington blunder occurred. It`s safe to say the rollout of Obamacare and healthcare.gov was less than perfect.
KATHLEEN SEBELIUS, HEALTH & HUMAN SERVICES SECRETARY: And I`ll be the first to tell you that the website launch was rockier than we would have liked.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That`s Health And Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. She`s become the target for Republicans after the site was and still is plagued by technical problems. Some people have been unable to sign up, others have had their passwords disappear.
SEN. PAT ROBERTS, (R ) KANSAS: Secretary Sebelius has had three and a half years to launch Obamacare and she has failed.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The Republican National Committee has even launched a petition and Twitter campaign to fire Sebelius.
SEAN SPICER, COMMUNICATIONS, DIR., RNC: This really calls into question the accountability and the leadership that`s going on over at HHS in terms of not our taxpayers dollars, but the delivery of key services.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: As two House committees begin investigating the website launch, the administration backs the embattled Sebelius.
JAY CARNEY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Secretary does have the full confidence of the president.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But even some Democrats are critical of the rollout.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Enormously frustrated.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Meanwhile, efforts are under way to fix the problem.
SEBELIUS: There are constant improvements under way so that we are getting people in much more quickly, we have a plan to go back and revisit people who may have had an unsatisfactory experience.
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ANNOUNCER: It`s time for the "Shoutout." What ends on November 30th? If you think you know it, then shout it out.
Is it, autumn, the Major League Baseball season, Daylight-saving time or Hurricane season. You`ve got three seconds, go!
The Atlantic and Pacific hurricane season end every year on November 30th. That`s your answer and that`s your "Shoutout."
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AZUZ: One thing we want to point out, hurricanes can form at any time. The season, which starts on June First is when hurricanes are most likely to show up. This year has been kind of a no show, though. Forecasters were expecting an above average season. In terms of tropical storms, sure, in terms of hurricanes, not even close. At least, not so far. Some scientists were trying to explain it.
KAREN MAGINNIS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: From the air, the damage continues to leave many in awe. And from the ground, the personal stories of struggle are a constant.
HARRY SMITH, SEASIDE HEIGHTS CITY COUNCILMAN: This is heartbreaking, I`d lived my whole life. I`m like a fourth generation here. And like I said, this all is devastating.
MAGINNIS: That was a year ago. After Superstorm Sandy slammed into the northeastern United States. Today, the Atlantic hurricane season has been at dud. Take a look at the numbers. Only two hurricanes have formed in the Atlantic this year. And neither one has been a major hurricane. A category three or greater.
So, what`s the science behind the lack of hurricanes this year?
MARSHALL SHEPHERD, UGA SCIENTIST: That`s going to be the question of the season, and I think there are a couple of culprits. There`s been a quite a bit of wind shear in the upper atmosphere, hurricanes don`t like wind shears.
MAGINNIS: Experts also say, a combination of dry air and dust from Western Africa could also suppress hurricane development.
SHEPHERD: It`s a bit odd to have a lack of activity relatively speaking in both Pacific and the Atlantic and so, may people think there maybe some type of atmosphere mode like the El Nino, or the Arctic oscillation.
Some of them are methods for projecting seasonal forecast. Man, I handle those very well.
MAGINNIS: But with six weeks remaining in hurricane season, there is still plenty of time for storms to develop. And the factors that could have inhibited development early in the season, may weaken or even disappear.
It only takes one storm to make it a devastating season. Two of the strongest hurricanes ever recorded in the Atlantic Basin, Hurricane Wilma and Mitch, occurred in mid to late October.
SHEPHERD: I`ll remind our viewers that Superstorm Sandy or Hurricane Sandy happened on October 29th or so. We are not even through that yet. So, we do have to keep our guard up.
MAGINNIS: Karen Maginnis, CNN, Atlanta.
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ANNOUNCER: Is this legit? The word smog comes from a combination of smoking fog. It`s true. That`s what it means, too. Fog mixed with smoke and usually some sort of chemical fumes.
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AZUZ: This is how bad smog can get. These pictures were taken on Monday during the day in Harbin, China. Smog was so bad in the polluted northeastern city, that in some places people could only see about 30 feet in front of them. Roads were closed, planes were grounded, some students got out of school for a smog day. Tuesday is not looking much clearer. What`s to blame? Factory pollution, lots of cars on the road, and people turning on their heaters as temperatures drop. Smog is common in northern China. Also, in Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., and Mexico City, also infamous for smog. The city is investing $20 billion to try to improve people`s health. Part of that money is going toward what could be a structural solution that it would come at an additional cost.
NICK PARKER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A striking building on the Mexico City skyline, this hospital tower also has a very unique feature.
It eats smog. This facade is coated in a special material, which when hit by sunrise UV rays, begins to break down pollutants. Designers say, it neutralizes the effects of a 1000 cars every day.
Though pollution levels have declined, Mexico City is still grappling with being a megalopolis. And the intrinsic problems it brings.
There are some 4.5 million cars registered here, and that number grows by about 200,000 every year. For now, critics may ask what difference one building can make in a city of 23 million people.
DANIEL SCHWAG, ELEGANT EMBELLISMENTS: We won`t reduce significantly the levels of pollution for the entire city, but we do it significantly for localized area where very high levels of pollution meet urban population, so directly protecting people.
And this savvy (ph) architect is a model that can be applied to any city around the world. Nick Parker, CNN, Mexico City.
AZUZ: Lions, tigers, bears, eagles, bull dogs, wildcats. We`ve covered a lot of animal mascots But today is "Roll Call" mascots, or a bit more personable, like the Warriors from Jupiter High in Jupiter, Florida. Pirate to people, we`re checking in with the Fulton High Pirates in Middleton, Michigan and we`ll end on a high note: the Oakland High Highlanders from Upland, California.
The Roll Call is one way to get your school mentioned on CNN STUDENT NEWS. Another is with an I-Report. And right now we`re looking for a specific kind: pumpkins: If you are 13 or order, you can send us an I-Report showing off your Halloween creativity. Details at cnnstudentnews.com. But don`t wait. I-Reports have to be in by October, 28th.
When it comes to those I-Reports, we are looking for creativity. These guys are more about degree of difficulty, carving a pumpkin in 25 feet of water. And maybe you are a diver, maybe you don`t think that`s a big deal, but remember, pumpkins float. So you`d better have a gourd grip as you carve up you jack-o-lantern. In fact, when the contestants surface, so do all their scraps. No pumpkin leftovers for the fish. Contest is all in good fun, but you might argue that it was rigged, because after all, every participant took a dive, and they`ll never forget these scuba scene. They`ll be thankful for the memories. That`s all for today, we`ll see you again tomorrow for more CNN STUDENT NEWS.