Pfizer and GlaxoSmithKline are offering fewer paid speeches and free dinners, which is good news for patients and taxpayers.
Health care advocates hope a hike would prompt smokers to quit, while opponents say it would place too heavy a burden on the poor.
More than 8.8 million US workers now collect the benefits, a sixfold jump since 1970 that cost the government $135 billion last year.
Forecasters predict an above-average number of Atlantic storms. Too bad agencies like FEMA are going into 2013 short on funding.
The CDC says many poor and uninsured people fail to take medication, leading to ER visits. One-fifth of all patients ask for cheaper drugs.
By getting its brokers to renew clients by year-end 2013, the insurer can put off the new mandates until nearly 2015.
The mandatory budget cuts are forcing chemotherapy clinics to make a difficult choice: Turn away patients or risk bankruptcy.
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'We're not exactly in a uniformly strong market,' says the notably pessimistic newsletter publisher.
The Market Dispatches column has been discontinued. Here's where to find the latest stock and business news on MSN Money, and the latest from market writer Charley Blaine.
MONEY & POLITICS
Breaking up big banks is an untested solution to the too big to fail problem that attempts to isolate and dismantle large, troubled institutions while protecting the rest of the economy.
Six weeks later, most Americans have forgotten about the 2014 tax season -- except those who didn't file by the April 15 deadline.
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