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UnitedHealth says first-quarter profit fell on reform costs

(Reuters) - UnitedHealth Group Inc , the largest U.S. health insurer, said on Thursday that first-quarter profit fell due to costs and taxes related to the national healthcare reform law as well as government cuts to private Medicare funding. The company said the costs related to the Affordable Care Act and the effects of budget sequestration last year on payments from the government negatively affected earnings by about 35 cents per share. Its Optum technology-related division, which has worked on the online insurance exchanges created by that reform law, continued to grow. UnitedHealth said net profit was $1.1 billion, or about $1.10 per share, compared with $1.2 billion, or $1.16 per share a year earlier.  More »

GE industrial profits rise 12 percent, shares up

General Electric Co posted a 12 percent rise in overall industrial profits on Thursday, as strength in its businesses selling gas turbines, jet engines and oil industry equipment offset weakness in healthcare and transportation. "The big story is the organic revenue growth," said Tim Ghriskey, chief investment officer of Solaris Asset Management, which owns GE shares. "It really shows the return to an industrial emphasis is paying off, and where the company is focusing." GE Chief Executive Officer Jeff Immelt wants to focus the company even more on manufacturing of large industrial products as he reduces the company's dependence on its GE Capital finance unit.  More »

A year after marathon bombs, Boston hospitals apply lessons learned

By Svea Herbst-Bayliss BOSTON (Reuters) - The homemade bombs that ripped through the crowd at the finish line of last year's Boston Marathon, killing three people and injuring 264, showcased the city's medical talent but also taught valuable lessons in responding to a mass disaster. By all accounts, Boston's hospitals performed well after the attacks on April 15, 2013. Looking back, a year after their hospitals were packed with blast victims, Boston officials have tweaked how they prepare for a disaster, now requiring city emergency medical personnel to carry tourniquets and developing a standard method for one city agency to track disaster victims in hospitals.  More »

Portland plans reservoir flush after teen cited

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Call it the Big Flush 2, and this time the sequel promises to be much bigger than the original.  More »

Cut off from the world, Gazans consumed by poverty

By Noah Browning and Nidal al-Mughrabi GAZA (Reuters) - Life has never seemed so grim for the Mustafas, a family of seven cramped into a shabby two-room hovel in Gaza's Jabalya refugee camp. Seven years into an Israeli blockade and ten months into a crippling Egyptian one, Gaza's economic growth has evaporated and unemployment soared to almost 40 percent by the end of 2013. Opposition to the Hamas militant group which runs the Gaza Strip has led its neighbors to quarantine the enclave, shutting residents out of the struggling Mideast peace process and leaving them with plenty of parties to blame. Living on U.N. handouts of rice, flour, canned meat and sunflower oil, with limited access to proper health care or clean water, families like the Mustafas - seemingly permanent refugees from ancestral lands now part of Israel - have no money, no jobs and no hope.  More »

Study: Diabetic heart attacks and strokes falling

NEW YORK (AP) — In the midst of the diabetes epidemic, a glimmer of good news: Heart attacks, strokes and other complications from the disease are plummeting.  More »

Ebola virus in Africa outbreak is a new strain

The Ebola virus that has killed scores of people in Guinea this year is a new strain — evidence that the disease did not spread there from outbreaks in some other African nations, scientists report.  More »

Death toll from Guinea Ebola outbreak rises to 122

CONAKRY (Reuters) - The death toll from an Ebola outbreak in Guinea has risen to 122, the World Health Organisation said on Thursday, a sharp increase from a previous figure of 108. The disease has spread from Guinea's remote southeast to the ...  More »

UnitedHealth says first-quarter profit fell on reform costs

(Reuters) - UnitedHealth Group Inc , the largest U.S. health insurer, said on Thursday that first-quarter profit fell due to costs and taxes related to the national healthcare reform law as well as government cuts to private Medicare funding. The...  More »

GE industrial profits rise 12 percent, shares up

General Electric Co posted a 12 percent rise in overall industrial profits on Thursday, as strength in its businesses selling gas turbines, jet engines and oil industry equipment offset weakness in healthcare and transportation. "The big sto...  More »

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