Patt Morrison for August 27, 2010

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California has passed legislation to create a health-care exchange – all it needs now is the governor’s signature, which is expected to come soon. If passed, the bills will create the first health-insurance marketplace since the healthcare overhaul was passed by Washington (Massachusetts and Utah had existing marketplaces). As mandated by the federal law, the marketplace is expected to be a website complete with information about plans, a toll-free number, and a program of live helpers to assist consumers with purchasing plans and questions. Exchanges aren’t required to be up and running until January of 2014, so this could make California’s an influential model for other states’ marketplaces. So how easy will this marketplace actually be, and what extras will the state add onto the federal requirements?
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Inside the Beltway with Politico’s David Mark

We’ve just had a round of primary elections around the country that may give a clue to where voters will land in November. The results of those ballots are just one thing that will be on the minds of our congressmen and women – and President Obama - as they return to Washington after their summer breaks. Add terrible jobs numbers, an economy that just won’t move into high gear, immigration issues, and stalled climate change legislation to that general and pervasive angst over upcoming mid-term elections… iieee! It’s a brew strong enough to bring grown men to their knees. Politico’s senior editor, David Mark sits down with Patt to parse out the politics with a view from inside the Beltway.
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Student A attends El Camino Real High School in Woodland Hills, one of the top-achieving public schools in the state, a school that is a regular finalist in national Academic Decathlon competitions with plenty of advanced placement classes available, located in a bucolic upper-middle class neighborhood. Student B attends Belmont Senior High School in Westlake, a struggling school with an unbelievable 60% drop out rate where 80% of its students qualify for federal free or reduced lunches and students’ proficiency rates in both math and reading hover around 50%. How can two schools in the same district produce such wildly different results? This is the tale of the Los Angeles Unified School District, which with 617,000 students is one of the nation’s largest and most unwieldy, with huge disparities in access to good classrooms, teachers and coursework. Patt and her guests hear stories from students themselves about the differing experiences of going to school in the LAUSD and what can be done to bridge the educational gap.
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