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Doctors and insurance companies will be exchanging angry TV spots this holiday weekend. At stake are 10% cuts in Medicare payments that could affect 52 million Americans. Neither Republicans nor Democrats want the cuts to go through. Why couldn't they be stopped? What's the role of the Bush White House? Is it all about trying to privatize a popular public program? Also, Ingrid Betancourt and 13 other hostages are freed in a daring rescue in Colombia, and different ways of celebrating Independence Day, starting with George Washington.

French-Colombian hostage Ingrid Betancourt (C) next to her mother Yolanda Pulecio smiles at her husband Juan Carlos Lecompte (R) upon her arrival at the Catam air base in Bogota. Photo: Rodrigo Arangua/AFP/Getty Images

Sonya Geis
Gary Scott
Dan Konecky

Making News Betancourt, Americans Freed in Daring Rescue 5 MIN, 48 SEC

For the first time in six years, Ingrid Betancourt today embraced her children, a day after her dramatic rescue from the FARC rebels in Colombia. Thirteen other hostages, including three Americans, were released with her. Sibylla Brodzinsky reports from Bogota, for the Christian Science Monitor.

Sibylla Brodzinsky, Correspondent, Christian Science Monitor

Main Topic The Politics and Economics of Medicare 35 MIN, 1 SEC

There will be no vacation from political advertising this Fourth of July as the battle over 10% cuts in Medicare reaches a fever pitch. At stake are payments to 600,000 doctors who care for 52 million people, a big percent of the voting population in an election year. Neither Republicans nor Democrats want the cuts to go through, but the Senate failed to prevent them by just one vote. That's pitted the doctors against the insurance industry in an advertising frenzy designed to influence action next week.

Nancy Nielsen, Immediate Past President, American Medical Association
Joseph Antos, American Enterprise Institute (@joeantos)
Robert Berenson, Senior Fellow in Health Policy, Urban Institute
Anna Wilde Mathews, Wall Street Journal (@annawmathews)

Reporter's Notebook An Anthology of Fourth of July Celebrations 8 MIN

4th_july_encyclopedia.jpgOn Independence Day in 1778, General George Washington gave his army a double allowance of rum. Thirty years later the city of Richmond, Virginia decided that only US-made liquor could be consumed on the Fourth of July. James Heintze, librarian emeritus at American University in Washington, is author of The Fourth of July Encyclopedia.

James Heintze, Librarian Emeritus, American University


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