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Medicare change tied to safer weight loss surgery

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – After Medicare changed its rules regarding coverage for weight loss surgeries in 2006, the cost for the procedures went down while safety measures increased, according to a new study. Researchers found that the benefits were primarily due to a rules change that allowed Medicare to…

Democrats target restrictive voter laws

President Barack Obama’s Democratic allies this week ramped up attacks on what they charged are unfairly restrictive voting laws that could swing key November 2012 elections to Republicans. House of Representatives Democrats, led by their number-two leader Steny Hoyer, announced Thursday they were writing to the top election officials in…

Ron Paul declared winner of Illinois Republican straw poll

CHICAGO (Reuters) – Ron Paul was declared the winner on Saturday of a weeklong Republican presidential straw poll in Democratic President Barack Obama’s home state of Illinois. Texas Congressman Paul won 52 percent of the combined 3,649 online and in-person votes cast between October 29 and Saturday evening. He won…

Green candidate for mayor based in Occupy Tucson tent

TUCSON, Ariz (Reuters) – There is no bank of telephones at Mary DeCamp’s campaign headquarters, no volunteers eager to bring her message to the masses. The Green Party candidate for mayor of Tucson, who is days away from losing her home to foreclosure, is flanked by fellow Occupy Tucson activists…

Ohio Governor Kasich signs restrictive abortion bill

CLEVELAND (Reuters) – Ohio Governor John Kasich signed into law a bill that makes it more difficult for minors to obtain permission for an abortion. Ohio law already requires either parental permission or court order for any woman under 18 to legally obtain an abortion. The new law signed late…

Mississippi to decide if fertilized egg is a human being

(Reuters) – Mississippi on Tuesday could be the first state in the nation to define a fertilized egg as a person, a controversial concept aimed at outlawing abortion, some types of birth control and infertility methods that result in the loss of embryos. The so-called “personhood amendment” to the state…

Virginia state Senate election may be signal for Obama

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Virginia’s state Senate elections next week are shaping up as an early signal for President Barack Obama ahead of national elections next year. Republicans have a strong shot at taking control of the state Senate from Democrats on Tuesday, political analysts said. A win would put state…

MF Global faces class-action suits after bankruptcy

Two class-action lawsuits have been filed against bankrupt brokerage MF Global as customers struggle to recover funds from the first major US casualty of the European debt crisis. On Saturday, Seattle-based Hagens Berman said it was “investigating whether the company used clients’ money to offset losses the company had incurred…

U.S. closes two more banks, 87 so far in 2011

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. regulators closed two more banks on Friday — one in Utah and another in Nebraska — bringing the total number this year to 87. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) said the SunFirst Bank of Saint George, Utah, has been closed. It said the three branches…

Republican candidates court Iowa insiders

DES MOINES, Iowa (Reuters) – Five Republican presidential hopefuls auditioned for Iowa’s party insiders at a fund-raising dinner on Friday, sparing each other from criticism but dishing up plenty of red-meat attacks on Washington and President Barack Obama. Two months before Iowa kicks off the battle for the Republican presidential…

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