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The ban is the first major crackdown on cigarettes since the Food and Drug Administration was given authority to regulate tobacco products.

In the scientific equivalent of affirmative action, the government is giving hundreds of millions of dollars a year to scientists whose projects are deemed less worthy than others.

Appearing in interviews on five television networks, the president said that he welcomed Republicans to the effort, but added, “I don’t count on them.”

A growing number of states are aiming to disprove the notion that once people have settled into a nursing home, they will be there forever.

Senator Max Baucus did not win support from a single Republican despite tailoring his proposal to be less costly and to extend the reach of government less than other health bills.

Some say that Dr. Richard Pazdur, the man in charge of the nation’s cancer drug office, makes it too difficult for experimental drugs to come to market.

Despite their usefulness and lower cost, devices like iPhones and netbook PCs that can help the speech-impaired are not covered by Medicare or insurers.

Medicare stops paying for anti-rejection drugs after 36 months, one of several anomalies that many in Congress hope to cure with this year’s health care bill.

The regulatory approach that exacerbated the financial crisis — playing favorites — is being repeated on a larger scale with health care.

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