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UnitedHealth spends healthy amount on federal lobbying; also: Imation storage devices, General Mills online coupons

UnitedHealth Group spent more than $1.1 million lobbying the federal government during the first quarter, according to Associated Press. A disclosure report shows the Minnetonka company attempted to persuade federal officials on such health care issues as electronic personal records, privacy, Medicare, mental health and taxes. The brief AP report doesn’t mention what positions UnitedHealth advocated — or how much success it had in getting its way. In other news: A UnitedHealth company is putting down cash to buy up a Pittsburgh-based public-sector health-plan called Unison.

Honey, I Blew Up the Hard Drive: Last week, Imation announced it had shrunk its 8-gig flash. Today, the company unveiled its largest-ever capacity removable storage disk. The 500-gig RDX removable disk cartridge is aimed at small- and medium-size businesses. It’s contained in a 2.5-inch shock-resistant block meant to withstand a tumble off your desk or a bobble from your hands to the floor on your way to IT.

Google a certain Kurt Vonnegut novel, and your search results might soon show up next to a click-and-print coupon for Wheaties cereal. General Mills is one of several companies participating in a new service called Brandcaster that aims to do for online coupons what Google’s AdSense did for text links. The small Silicon Valley firm launching the system today recruited a former Google advertising executive to help oversee the project, AP reports. It’ll begin broadcasting coupons from about 200 brands to about 3,000 websites.

Do you have an inside scoop or news tip about a Minnesota company? Spotted something interesting in your RSS reader? Drop Business Agenda a note at dhaugen [at] minnpost [dot] com.

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