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We continue our 5-part series on the high cost of health care in America.

Picture of Natalie Walsh

We continue our 5-part series on the high cost of health care in America.

Picture of Natalie Walsh

We continue our 5-part series on the high cost of health care in America.

Picture of Natalie Walsh

As Congress goes into recession, the debate over healthcare hits home. But what's really happening on the reform front? Will it meet the needs of the American public? In a 5-hour special series over five days, we'll hear from doctors, hospital administrators, insurance companies, economists and average people about what's driving up healthcare costs, what it will take to make real changes, and what trade-offs people are willing to make to see meaningful reform through.

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Within hours of the news breaking about Michael Jackson's death, attention started to turn toward one of the only eyewitnesses to the event: his personal physician.

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A federal court of appeals recently upheld a lower court's 2006 decision that found the tobacco industry guilty of racketeering and fraud. The House of Representatives has already voted to give the F.D.A. powers to regulate tobacco products, and the Senate is considering a similar vote. It's time for universities such as the University of California to wake up and cut their research ties with Big Tobacco, which has long used university research results to defraud the public.

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Two years ago, poor medical care in state prisons accounted for about one inmate death each week. A federal judge took over and the state terminated about 60 substandard physicians. That's left many prisons without enough doctors, but not the Calipatria prison about 100 miles east of San Diego. KPCC's Julie Small reports on one doctor who's quickly building the staff.

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Zara Marselian is founder and CEO of La Maestra Community Health Centers, a network of three clinic sites offering comprehensive health services regardless of ability to pay. La Maestra targets underserved, ethnically diverse communities, including immigrants, and delivers culturally competent health care services. A child of refugee and immigrant parents, Marselian founded La Maestra to offer multicultural health care and social services to immigrants and refugees in inner-city San Diego.

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William Fenical is a professor of oceanography at UCSD's Scripps Institution of Oceanography and director of the Center for Marine Biotechnology and Biomedicine at Scripps. His research involves the isolation and identification of active chemical materials from marine plants and animals that may have potential pharmaceutical or agricultural uses. His research involves marine organic chemistry with a focus on chemical defense mechanisms in marine organisms and the chemistry of marine microorganisms.

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