Patt Morrison for April 27, 2010

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Looking back & looking forward on health care reform

The health care reform debate provided a year of intense drama, but now the fun part really begins. Over the course of the next four years, pieces of the health care legislation will roll out, from the prevention of insurance companies dropping patients with preexisting conditions to the broad insurance mandate, and yet it might be another generation until the full effects of health care reform are truly known. Will Republicans attempt to roll back elements of the reform, or will additional follow-up measures be needed to further improve the system? Will any of these steps actually bring down the inflated cost of delivering medical services? With one of the major players in the American health care system’s pharmaceutical industry and with a dogged reporter who has closely followed the debate for the past year, Patt looks backward and forward at health care reform in America.
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Wars have been fought over oil, precious gems and even salt—but up until now, modern global civilization has been relatively lucky in its access to and supply of potable water. That time might be coming to an end, as the pressures of population growth, environmental degradation and the ravages of global warming have conspired to make fresh water an increasingly rare commodity in parts of the Earth. According to the World Health Organization, water scarcity affects one in three people on every continent. Lack of fresh water sources is a growing human tragedy but also is bad business, as economic growth without fresh water is impossible. How can world leaders work together to sustain global water supplies without killing each other in the process?
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When President Obama visited Cairo and gave his landmark address to the Arab world, he spoke of the need to begin significant engagement with the Muslim-majority countries in the areas of technology and the knowledge economy. Venture capitalist Alaya Bettaieb talks with Patt about how investment, innovation and technology are the building blocks for economic development and strong business ties that can bridge cultures and strengthen bonds between the U.S. and the Arab world.
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The term “corporate governance” served as a form of kryptonite for several years in Wall Street circles, as the fast-moving, risk-taking culture found in huge financial institutions played a large role in the current recession from which we are slowly recovering. As publicly owned banks and investment firms were taking risks with shareholder-generated funds, shareholders were often left in the dark. Dating back to the seemingly halcyon days of Enron, WorldCom and Tyco, the functions of corporate governance have failed too many times over the past decade. Many CEO’s weren’t accountable to their boards and shareholders had little ability to affect change. There are some emerging signs of progress as regulators exert greater influence over corporate governance reform and executive compensation arrangements. How can investors better educate themselves and how can shareholders gain a greater and stronger voice?
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Financial reporting with CNBC’s Maria Bartiromo

Goldman-Sachs, the SEC, financial regulation reform, investing in the new 2010 economy…it’s all on the table for CNBC’s Maria Bartiromo, host of “Closing Bell.” In 1995 she was the first journalist to report live from the New York Stock Exchange on a daily basis, and she’s been in the thick of it ever since. Patt and Maria take on the hurricane world of finance and Maria’s secrets to enduring success.
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Cars 2.0: the future of the auto industry

The last 10 years have proven be one of the biggest periods of change the global auto industry has ever seen—the next 10 years promise to be just as revolutionary. As cars become more technologically capable, more fuel-efficient, and more powerful (even as the engines get smaller), the auto industry has both struggled and managed to adapt. New safety systems have made automobiles much more resilient in collisions, and yet in the case of Toyota some of those safety systems might be the cause of catastrophic failures. The number and type of hybrid cars on the road has exploded, but battery technology is still lacking for a breakthrough all-electric car. Car companies talk a good game, but more change is still needed to build cars—and change the mindset of drivers—that do not rely on traditional gasoline. How close are we getting to revolutionary technology changes in the auto industry?
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