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FROM THIS EPISODE

Millions of Americans are starting to use their new health insurance under the Affordable Care Act. How's it going? Where is the policy headed? How well are doctors and hospitals coping? Also, Secretary of State John Kerry pushes Israeli-Palestinian peace, and Colorado’s new marijuana stores are open for business and not lacking for customers. Barbara Bogaev guest hosts.

Banner image: Chealion

Producers:
Katie Cooper
Caitlin Shamberg
Sonya Geis

Today's Talking Point Colorado Lights Up Legally 7 MIN, 53 SEC

Yesterday pot smokers in Colorado rang in the new year with special joy and less paranoia when the nation's first recreational pot stores opened for business there. Washington is due to follow suit later in the year. Arizona, Alaska, California and Oregon are also considering liberalizing their marijuana laws. Pot remains illegal under federal law, but the government has given tentative approval to Colorado and Washington's retail gambit, warning it will step in if state regulations fail to keep drugs away from minors, cartels, other states or federal property. Larry Ryckman is Assistant City Editor at the Denver Post, overseeing coverage of cops, courts and marijuana.

Guests:
Larry Ryckman, Denver Post (@larryryckman)

Making News Secretary of State John Kerry Pushes Israeli-Palestinian Peace 8 MIN, 22 SEC

Secretary of State John Kerry is Israel, meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Tomorrow he goes to the West Bank to talk with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abba. This is Kerry's tenth trip to the Middle East, where he's trying to create a framework for peace talks with the goal of a two-state solution. Today, in Jerusalem, he told the press, "We know the parameters and possibilities of peace…The time is soon arriving where leaders are going to have to make difficult decisions." Jodi Rudoren is Jerusalem Bureau Chief for the New York Times.

Guests:
Jodi Rudoren, New York Times (@rudoren)

Main Topic Showtime for Obamacare 35 MIN, 26 SEC

The New Year brought with it medical coverage for millions of Americans under the Affordable Care Act. Yesterday about two million people began to receive private health coverage through the state health exchanges or the federal website. With one of the nation's most sweeping changes to social policy in decades, no longer can insurers deny coverage to people with pre-existing conditions, or charge them more for their coverage than other customers. It's also the first time they can't legally charge women higher premiums for the same coverage as men, and the first time they can't set a specific limit on the amount they spend on "essential health benefits" for individual policyholders. But there are a lot of "if's" in the implementation of Obamacare. Will people be able to find a doctor who accepts their new plan? Are the nation's healthcare providers ready for the change in policy? And how will Obamacare shape the political climate this election year?

Guests:
Sarah Kliff, Washington Post (@sarahkliff)
Susan Shargel, Shargel and Company
Bryce Williams, Towers Watson's Exchange Solutions (@brycewatch)
David Nather, Politico (@DavidNather)
Gerald Kominski, UCLA Center for Health Policy Research (@UCLAFSPH)

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