Patt Morrison for March 22, 2010

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It will cost $940 billion over 10 years and expand insurance coverage to some 32 million Americans by mandating and heavily subsidizing the purchase of health insurance. Beyond that, little is known for sure about how the health care reform legislation, passed yesterday by the House of Representatives, will impact the average American. It’s been called historic legislation, on par with the expansion of the safety net that Medicare and Social Security brought about, but will it fundamentally change the way that this country views medical care? How will the government enforce the insurance mandate and how affordable will insurance be for low-income families? Will the bill end up reducing the federal deficit or add to it? How will states and local medical agencies be affected, will their Medicare reimbursements continue to drop? We can’t get all the answers but Patt will carefully tip toe through the health care reform bill, explaining it all along the way.
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Interior Secretary Ken Salazar comes to California on Monday with oil and water on the mind, as the federal government gives a gift to Central Valley farmers in the form of more water and a plan for new oil drilling leases on the horizon. Because of our wet winter Secretary Salazar announced last week that farmers in the San Joaquin River Delta would be getting about a 20% increase in federally controlled water supplies, but some kind of long-term water deal among the Western states is still needed. And the Obama Administration is due to announce an oil drilling plan for sensitive lands around the country, and the only sure thing about it is that Secretary Salazar plans a big break from Bush era policies.
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The future of your Social Security

National debt—it’s a pretty big problem and a pretty unpopular subject for politicians— Republicans like to use it as a lightning rod against Dems; Dems like to say they’ll reign in spending but don’t want to talk about slashing social security benefits. Enter Social Security commissioner Michael J. Astrue—he joins Patt to talk about the future of social security in a country with a growing, aging population, and also explains the new online system his office has devised to streamline the benefits process.
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The Future History of the Arctic

You probably wouldn't live in the Arctic if someone gave you a million dollars, but that may be the Arctic of the past. Things are heating up now, quite literally. In his new book "The Future History of the Arctic," Charles Emmerson dicusses the rapidly changing Arctic landscape. With global warming, melting icecaps have cut off almost four thousand miles off the route from Tokyo to New York, not to mention exposing portions of the ocean floor rich with oil. Emmerson stops by the studio to talk about the politics, race for resources, and global warming drama that will most likely unfold as the ice melts.
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