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FROM THIS EPISODE

The federal government promises healthcare for the elderly and the poor, but Medicare and Medicaid are steaming toward a "fiscal train wreck." The law requires the next president to resolve a problem that's been building for years. How serious is it? What are the candidates proposing to do? Also, in Iraq, Maliki gives the Shiite militias a three-day ultimatum.


Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

Producers:
Christian Bordal
Katie Cooper
Frances Anderton

Making News Fighting in Iraq Threatens Truce 15 MIN, 9 SEC

Iraq's Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has issued a deadline for Shiite militias in Basra: lay down your weapons in 72 hours or face "the most severe penalties." We get an update from a reporter in Baghdad and two perspectives on the situation in Iraq.

Guests:
Leila Fadel, Washington Post (@LeilaFadel)
Wayne White, Middle East Policy Council (@middleeastinst)
William Arkin, Online Columnist, Washington Post

Main Topic What's Left of the Promise of Healthcare for the Elderly and Poor? 34 MIN, 24 SEC

A California doctor gets $24 to spend a half hour with a Medicaid patient, less than it costs to keep the lights on in his office. His plumber gets ten times as much to fix a plugged drain in 45 minutes. Medicaid and Medicare are in trouble, and everybody's known it for years. Medicare, which poses the biggest and most immediate challenge, already accounts for 23% of all federal spending, and medical costs are expected to double in the next 10 years. Starting this year, the hospital insurance trust fund will pay out more in benefits than it gets in revenues. But the principal fix for rising medical costs has been cutting fees for doctors and other providers. More and more doctors are refusing those patients, and the next president will be required by law to do something about it. Are the candidates coming up with solutions? 

Guests:
Marilyn Moon, former independent board member, Medicare and Social Security
Ted Mazer, Trustee, California Medical Association
John C. Goodman, President, National Center for Policy Analysis
David Cutler, Professor of Economics, Harvard University

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