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Two of California's biggest health insurance companies have cut back on hefty increases in rates. Blue Shield says it wants to make coverage affordable during tough economic times. But it also turns out that tough times force customers to switch to cheaper policies and go to doctors less often, reducing company payouts. We talk with the new state insurance commissioner and others. On this first anniversary of President Obama's healthcare reform, is it helping or hurting Californians? On our rebroadcast of today's To the Point, are revolutions transforming the Middle East?

Banner image: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Main Topic California Insurers Postpone Proposed Rate Increases 20 MIN, 25 SEC

One year ago today, President Obama signed his healthcare reform bill, which had passed without a single Republican vote in the House or the Senate. Recent polls show the public is still divided, with a plurality opposed to the measure but large majorities favoring various provisions. This week, Anthem Blue Cross reduced and delayed proposed rate increases for some 500,000 Californians. Blue Shield has delayed its proposed hikes for about 200,000 people this year. We speak with the California Insurance Commissioner, insurance providers and healthcare advocates.

Tom Epstein, Blue Shield of California
Dave Jones, California Department of Insurance (@CA_DaveJones)
Deena Lahn, Children's Defense Fund
John Graham, Pacific Research Institute

Reporter's Notebook Hollywood Icon Elizabeth Taylor, Dead at 79 5 MIN, 3 SEC


Elizabeth Taylor died of congestive heart failure last night after six weeks at the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. She was 79 years old. In sixty years, Taylor appeared in more than 50 films and won two Oscars. She was married eight times — twice to leading man Richard Burton — and was known as a relentless campaigner against HIV/AIDS. Kenneth Turan, film critic for the Los Angeles Times and NPR, looks back at her life and career.

Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times (@KennethTuran)

Main Topic Are Revolutions Transforming the Middle East? 26 MIN, 42 SEC

A New Arab World: Are Revolutions Transforming the Middle East?Since dictators were deposed by "people power" in Tunisia and Egypt, there's been talk of an "Arab Spring" that would finally bring an end to authoritarianism in the Middle East and even a flowering of democracy. But in Egypt today, street protests, strikes and sit-ins were criminalized by Hosni Mubarak's military successors. We hear more on the possible consequences of revolution there and elsewhere.

Scott Peterson, Christian Science Monitor (@peterson__scott)
Ashraf Khalil, Time magazine (@ashrafkhalil)
Shadi Hamid, Brookings Institution (@shadihamid)
Khalil Jahshan, formerly, National Association of Arab Americans
Mark Levine, UC Irvine
Thomas Carothers, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

Heavy Metal Islam

Mark LeVine

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