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UnitedHealth gets loud applause at DNC; also: Northwest’s bag fee takes effect, and HOM buys Gabberts

The DNC wouldn’t seem like a friendly venue for a corporate health-care behemoth. But a UnitedHealth executive garnered some of the loudest applause at a forum on health-care reform, according to BusinessWeek. The praise came after Dr. Reed Tuckson, chief of medical affairs for the Minnetonka-based HMO, called for better integration of prevention and community-health clinics. Mayo Clinic CEO Dr. Denis Cortese also participated in the event, the Rochester Post-Bulletin reports.

Northwest Airlines’ previously announced $15 fee on passengers’ first checked bag took effect Thursday, the Strib’s Liz Fedor reports. The charge doesn’t apply to international flights, elite and first-class passengers, or on tickets purchased before July 10. “If you bought your ticket before July 10, don’t let them sock you with this fee,” The Consumerist blog warns.

HOM Furniture is buying upscale competitor Gabberts. Other rivals tell Gita Sitaramiah of the Pioneer Press that it’s an “aggressive move,” especially with the weak housing market dampening demand for furniture. The Coon Rapids-based HOM said it plans to keep Gabberts’ Edina Galleria store open and expand the brand across the Upper Midwest. HOM wouldn’t disclose the purchase terms. Can we assume the deal involves zero-interest until 2010 and free disposal of their old mattress?

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