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AC360° Associate Producer
The White House is getting ready to hold a televised bipartisan health care summit tomorrow. Earlier this week the Obama Administration introduced a health care compromise plan that calls for the regulation of excessive rate hikes by health insurers. The $950 billion, 10-year health care proposal looks similar to a bill passed by the Senate last year but revises some of its most contentious provisions, from taxes to Medicare. The bill would require every American to have some sort of health insurance and would provide subsidies to low-income families to afford it.
A new CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll released this morning indicates that two-thirds of Americans think the Republicans in Congress are not doing enough to cooperate with President Obama. The survey also shows that the public thinks the Democrats should be the ones to take the first step toward bipartisan cooperation. What do you think? What kind of consensus do you hope lawmakers to reach tomorrow?
Speaking of health care, tonight we take a look at America’s out of control health care costs as part of our series on Broken Government. The costs of the U.S. health care system keep climbing. Improving access to insurance may be the easy part, but more insurance doesn’t necessarily mean lower costs. In the political and public debate on health care are we focusing too much on coverage and not enough on prices? Dr. Sanjay Gupta takes us inside an operating room to point out the nearly comical prices of everything – from a one-inch metal back screw (price tag $10,000) to a stapler ($3000) to an IV bag of saline for $288! Why do the supplies cost so much? Should the real reform be focused on reining in the price-gouging?
And today the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform will grill officials on Toyota's sudden-acceleration problems. The hearing will examine the Federal government's response to the Toyota recall, and gain a better understanding of the nature of the sudden acceleration problem in Toyota vehicles and what should be done about it. The second panel hearing will feature the much-anticipated appearance of Toyota's President, Aiko Toyoda. How do you think he’ll respond?
As the hearings take place on the Hill, questions are being raised about how much the NHTSA knew about Toyota's problems and when. Critics charge the Agency is understaffed and under-funded, and they are simply not equipped to deal with problems like Toyota. In fact, because they rely on all the automakers to bring problems to their attention can they be an effective consumer watch dog agency? We’re digging deeper tonight.
We’re also reporting on Toyota’s retention of Exponent, a California engineering firm, to conduct an analysis of Toyota and Lexus vehicles for concerns related to unintended acceleration. Exponent's research has come under fire from critics, including engineers, attorneys and academics who say the company tends to deliver to clients the reports they need to mount a public defense. We’re keeping them honest tonight.
And Gary Tuchman is in Haiti where he reports on how difficult it is for many family members to reunite after the earthquake. He profiles one woman who spent a week searching for her son after the 7.0-magnitude devastated the country. She finally learned that he had been transported to a hospital in Northern Haiti where he remains today. Now, weeks after he was airlifted to safety, she has been unable to get him back. The hospital says it needs permission to release him but without documents to establish kinship, they remain stuck in what many refer to as a “bureaucratic nightmare.” Don’t miss Gary’s report tonight.
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