Health, Science and Environment

Summertime is for road trips. Atlas Obscura teamed up with All Things Considered to travel up the West Coast, from California to Washington, in search of "hidden wonders" — unique but overlooked people and places.

One morning a few weeks ago, René Corado was so excited that he forgot to eat breakfast.

It was Bea Duncan who answered the phone at 2 a.m. on a January morning. Her son Jeff had been caught using drugs in a New Hampshire sober home and was being kicked out.

Bea and her husband, Doug Duncan, drove north that night nine years ago to pick Jeff up. On the ride back home, to Natick, Mass., the parents delivered an ultimatum: Their son had to go back to rehab, or leave home.

Jeff chose the latter, Bea says. She remembers a lot of yelling, cursing and tears as they stopped the car, in the dead of night, a few miles from the house.

A key initiative of the Affordable Care Act was a program designed to help control soaring Medicare costs by encouraging doctors and hospitals to work together to coordinate patients' care. This led to the formation of what are known as accountable care organizations or ACOs.

The program was expected to save the government nearly $5 billion by 2019, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

It hasn't come anywhere close.

The American West appears to be moving east. New research shows the line on the map that divides the North American continent into arid Western regions and humid Eastern regions is shifting, with profound implications for American agriculture.

In western Oklahoma, farmers like Benji White and his wife, Lori, have become ranchers.

As 17 fires burn across the state, California's legislature is grappling with what it should do to help residents cope with blazes. The most controversial question facing the state is a decision over who should pay when power lines touch off destructive blazes.

That has set off a huge political fight in the state capitol. On Thursday lawmakers heard hours of testimony on a proposal by Gov. Jerry Brown to tweak state liability laws.

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