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FROM THIS EPISODE

President Obama's healthcare reform could make a big difference for the state Insurance Commissioner elected in California next month. But Republican Mike Villines and Democrat Dave Jones have different ideas about how much new regulation should be imposed. Villines is getting indirect contributions from the insurance industry. What about Jones and trial lawyers who take insurance companies to court? Also, a new leader for LA County's troubled health department. On our rebroadcast of today's To the Point, in November election campaigns, both parties are blaming China — in different ways -- for America's declining economy. Would new policies make a difference? Is it time for a trade war, or is the US responsible for its own problems?  We hear some campaign commercials and some analysis.

Banner image: (L to R) Democrat Dave Jones and Mike Villines, candidates for California Insurance Commissioner

Producers:
Katie Cooper
Gary Scott

Making News New Director of Public Health Prepares to Leave San Francisco 6 MIN, 6 SEC

Los Angeles County Supervisors have had a hard time finding a new health director, but Dr. Mitchell Katz, who runs the program in San Francisco, has agreed to take the job. Chris Rauber covers the business of health for the San Francisco Business Times.

Guests:
Chris Rauber, Healthcare reporter, San Francisco Business Times

Main Topic Campaign Spending: Trial Lawyers and the Insurance Industry 18 MIN, 47 SEC

California's Insurance Commissioner is an elected official who overseas a $124 billion market of automobile, home and life insurance. Federal healthcare reform could provide even more power to Sacramento Democrat Dave Jones or Mike Villines of Fresno. Ten years ago, Republican Insurance Commissioner Chuck Quakenbush was run out of California. After taking $8 million in campaign contributions from the insurance industry, he allowed victims of the Northridge earthquake to get far less than they were entitled to. Jones and Villines, both termed-out assembly members running to be Commissioner, have said they won't take insurance-company money. Both claim to be pro-consumer, but their attitudes toward new regulations on health insurance are starkly different.

Guests:
Marc Lifsher, Reporter, Los Angeles Times (@MarcLifsher)
Dan Morain, Sacramento Bee (@DanielMorain)
Bob Stern, Center for Governmental Studies (formerly)

Main Topic China: Before and After Election Day 26 MIN

In this year's political campaigns, Democrats and Republicans are accusing each other of helping to cause America's economic decline. In the process, both parties are demonizing China.

Guests:
David Chen, Political Reporter, New York Times
Harold Meyerson, Washington Post (@haroldmeyerson)
Zachary Karabell, President, River Twice Research
Michael Hirsh, National Journal (@michaelphirsh)

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Zachary Karabell

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