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Up against the wall, corporate bums

   From Washington:
- Toyota CEO apologizes for recall, accidents - AP/The Buffalo NewsStupak
   Akio Toyoda, scion of the beleaguered Toyota empire, is apologizing Wednesday before a House committee investigating deadly flaws that sparked the recall of 8.5 million cars.
   Toyoda, the automaker's 53-year-old chief executive, says the company grew too fast to keep up with safety controls
. [Live video available]
- Trio of Lawmakers Drove Quest to Probe Auto Recall - The Wall Street Journal
   A former Michigan cop, a Baptist minister and the wealthy founder of a car-alarm company are the trio of lawmakers putting Japanese auto giant Toyota Moror Corp. on the congressional hot seat formerly occupied by Detroit's Big Three.

   To Sacramento:
- Anthem Blue Cross executives grilled at state Capitol - The Sacramento Bee
   Anthem Blue Cross executives, under intense questioning by the state Assembly's Health Committee on Tuesday, defended the company's decision to raise premiums by as much as 39 percent on hundreds of thousands of Californians. [Includes video]
- Anthem Blue Cross plans to go ahead with rate hikes in California - The Los Angeles Times
   ...The testimony came as members of the committee lashed out at Anthem for its proposed rate hikes and its corporate profit a day before the rate controversy moves to Washington, where a congressional subcommittee holds a hearing Wednesday.

   And back to Washington:
- Insurer blames health costs for Calif. rate hikes - AP/The Buffalo News
  In prepared testimony for a House investigative subcommittee, Angela Braly, president of WellPoint Inc., blamed the increases on the growing price tags for hospital care and pharmaceuticals. She also cited the ailing economy, which has caused many younger, healthier people to save money by dropping coverage, leaving her company covering an older, sicker population. [Live video available]
  WellPoint owns Anthem Blue Cross, whose plan to boost rates in California has made it a poster child for Democrats arguing that the nation's health system must be overhauled. Wednesday's hearing comes a day before President Barack Obama hosts bipartisan congressional leaders for a daylong, televised discussion of health care, a session he hopes will provide new momentum to Democrats' stalled legislation.

   Maybe this will make you feel better:

-- George Pyle/The Buffalo News

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