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The erasure floor performance of Luby Transform (LT) codes is mainly determined by the minimum variable-node degree. Thus we propose a modified encoding scheme that maximizes the minimum variable-node degree for transmission over binary erasure channels. The proposed scheme leads to an almost-regular variable-node degree distribution. The encoding process is generalized to accommodate arbitrary variable-node degree distributions for additional improved performance. The asymptotic performance is investigated using density evolution and compared with a conventional LT code. The scheme is further extended to enable a higher level of unequal erasure protection.