Google Analytics

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Regulation of E-Cigarette Stores

E-Cigarettes are sending the would-be regulators into fits. “It looks like a cigarette, so we must treat it like one!” they cry. The jury is out on whether they are good or bad for the person who uses them (or whether it should be allowed as a stealth pot delivery device) But do they fit into existing local smoking regulations? I should think not. Ostensibly, we have draconian no-smoking zones mandated by the local city council because it’s a nuisance and a health risk to everyone nearby. E Cigarettes are neither, unless you want to ban anything that can create water vapor in tiny amounts – like pots of water in the kitchens, or puddles on a warm day.

One local city in north Texas is wrestling with this false emergency right now

Eventually, the FDA will come out with rules governing the labeling and distribution of e-cigarettes, but cities will still be left to decide things like whether regulations like indoor smoking bans apply to vaping as well.

The answer is here a “no” but I’m only a little surprised that there is actually any debate for what is clearly a simple answer.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Hide the Incline! Why HealthCare.Gov doesn’t just show you the money.


imageWhen the site went live, I was curious how much health plans might be so I tried to log in and browse the options. Of course, you cannot just do that. You have to create an account. Creating the account requires extensive personal information that I am unwilling to put into the system at this time (I already have a plan thank-you-very-much and there is only so much I’m willing to give up to satisfy curiosity). So that’s where I bailed out.

It turns out that was a deliberate decision and not just the boneheaded oversight that I assumed it was.

“ was initially going to include an option to browse before registering,” report Christopher Weaver and Louise Radnofsky in the Wall Street Journal. “But that tool was delayed, people familiar with the situation said.” Why was it delayed? “An HHS spokeswoman said the agency wanted to ensure that users were aware of their eligibility for subsidies that could help pay for coverage, before they started seeing the prices of policies.” (Emphasis added.)

So yes, prices are going up. And going up so much that they are concerned that without a federal handout, it will immediately scare everyone away.

Taking a cue from the global warming guys, how about we call this “Hide the incline!