Originally created 09/01/01

Business briefs



WASHINGTON - Sugar growers will be encouraged to destroy some of their crop for a second consecutive year in an effort to prop up prices and reduce a government-held stockpile.

Growers who agree to plow under crops will each be given up to $20,000 worth of sugar that the government has acquired under a price-support program, the Agriculture Department said Friday.

USDA is paying $1.35 million a month to store 741,148 tons of raw and refined sugar that has been forfeited by producers to pay off price-support loans. Earlier this year, USDA announced that it would sell some of the sugar for use in making ethanol, a gasoline additive.

The sugar industry was split over the crop-destruction program, which will be limited to 200,000 tons. Farmers who raise sugar beets wanted the program, while cane producers did not.

Uninsured women increase in study

NEW YORK - The number of uninsured women has grown three times faster than the number of uninsured men in the past five years, according to a report by the Commonwealth Fund.

If the pace continues, the number of uninsured women will exceed the number of uninsured men for the first time in 2005, according to the study released Thursday.

Jeanne Lambrew, an associate professor of health services management and policy at George Washington University, who conducted the research and wrote the report, said the report is troubling because in general women's health needs are greater than those of men.

Women are more likely to have a chronic illness and to use prescription drugs as they age. For example, more than 80 percent of women ages 50 to 70 regularly use prescription drugs, compared with 71 percent of men of the same age.

In 1995, there were 13.6 million uninsured women and 16.2 million uninsured men. By 1999, the number of uninsured women grew to 14.9 million while the number of uninsured men reached 16.4 million. By 2005, the report predicts, there will be 17.4 million uninsured women and 17.3 million uninsured men.

Worth County hospital gets sold

SYLVESTER, Ga. - Georgia Baptist Health Care System said Friday it has signed an agreement to sell its 49-bed Worth County hospital to Phoebe Putney Health System of Albany.

The hospital had not proved profitable because it was not part of a regional network, such as the one Phoebe Putney has developed in southwest Georgia, Georgia Baptist spokesman George Ivey said.

Georgia Baptist acquired the hospital in 1996 and has discussed selling it to Phoebe "almost since we arrived in Worth County," Mr. Ivey said.

Georgia Baptist also operates hospitals or nursing homes in Buford, Cumming, Decatur, Meriwether and Warm Springs.

Target persists in Kmart lawsuit

DETROIT - Target Corp. said Friday that Kmart Corp. has "permanently removed" from its stores all "Dare to Compare" price comparisons, but Target said that it has not dropped the lawsuit charging its rival with false advertising.

A spokesman from Kmart Corp. could not be immediately reached for comment.

Target, in a lawsuit filed last week in U.S. District Court in Minneapolis, accused Kmart of lying to consumers in the nationwide advertising campaign that compares Kmart prices with those of its competitors.