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Business Highlights

By The Associated Press

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Persistent Parker nears top job at American

Doug Parker has no problem donning rapper Psy's light blue tuxedo for Halloween and performing his own version of Gangnam Style before hundreds of employees. The CEO of US Airways even let a video of his dance get posted to YouTube. He's outspoken, confident, and persistent, and he is very close to being put in charge of the world's largest airline.

After the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Parker camped out in Washington for three months to secure a government loan to keep his airline in business. One executive who was with him said it often seemed like the other airlines just wanted America West to go out of business.

Parker later engineered an audacious merger of America West and the larger US Airways. Then he spent the next seven years looking for another partner. First Delta rebuffed him. Then United. Twice. Parker then went after the only big airline left: American.

American also resisted at first. But Parker convinced its unions and bankruptcy creditors to pressure American management until it relented. The two sides announced Thursday they'll combine to form an airline that's bigger than United and Delta. Parker will run it.

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States' choices set up national health experiment

WASHINGTON (AP) â¿¿ President Barack Obama's health care overhaul is unfolding as a national experiment with American consumers as the guinea pigs: Who will do a better job getting uninsured people covered, the states or the feds?

The nation is about evenly split between states that decided by Friday's deadline they want a say in running new insurance markets and states that are defaulting to federal control because they don't want to participate. The choice was left to state governments under the law: Establish the market or Washington will.

With some exceptions, states led by Democrats opted to set up their own markets â¿¿ called exchanges â¿¿ and Republican-led states declined.

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