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Consumer Watchdog Calls On Google To End Secrecy As Lobbying Hits $5.2 million

SANTA MONICA, CA — Consumer Watchdog today called on Google to end the secrecy surrounding its lobbying efforts in Washington after the Internet giant refused to release an 89-page presentation it is showing to policymakers and regulators in the nation’s capital.

The call came as the Internet giant’s lobbying spending soared to $5.2 million in 2010 from $4.03 million in 2009.

3 Insurers Agree To Delay Calif Rate Increases

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SACRAMENTO Calif. -- Customers of three California health insurers will get some breathing room after the companies agreed Thursday to delay rate increases for 60 days, isolating Blue Shield of California as the lone holdout.

Anthem Blue Cross, Aetna and PacifiCare agreed to the delay to give the state Department of Insurance time to examine their recent rate filings, Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones said.

Court Rules That Consumers Can Sue Manufacturers Over Misleading Claims

The decision resolves a battle between consumers and business over the scope of Proposition 64, a 2004 measure intended to reduce 'shakedown' suits.

Consumers who buy a product as a result of misleading advertising can sue the manufacturer even if the product was not defective, the California Supreme Court decided in a 5-2 ruling Thursday.

Advocates of limiting lawsuits lambasted the ruling and warned that it might lead to clogging of the courts at a time when court funding is being cut.

3 Health Insurers Agree to California Commissioner's Request to Delay Rate Hikes

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Hundreds of thousands of Californians won at least a temporary reprieve from escalating health premiums Thursday when three of the state's largest insurers agreed to delay rate hikes.

But the company that launched the latest round of headlines about escalating rates, Blue Shield, stood by its decision to go forward with a March 1 increase that will raise rates on nearly 200,000 individual policyholders, some by as much as 59 percent.