Gretchen Whitmer

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer Bans Flavored Electronic Cigarettes

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer moved Wednesday to make her state the first to ban flavored electronic cigarettes, accusing companies of using candy flavors and deceptive advertising to “hook children on nicotine.” The Democrat ordered the state health department to issue emergency rules that will prohibit the sale of flavored nicotine vaping products, including to adults, and the misleading marketing of e-cigarettes. Retailers will have 30 days to comply with the rules once they’re filed in coming weeks. The rules will almost certainly be challenged in court. New York last November began taking steps to bar the sale of flavored e-cigarettes but withdrew proposed rules, and legislators rejected Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s budget proposal to clarify the state health department’s authority to limit sales. The federal government and states ban the sale of vaping products to minors, yet government survey figures show that last year, one in five U.S. high school students reported vaping in the previous month. Top government health officials, including the surgeon general, have flagged the trend as an epidemic. “This is a health crisis that we’re confronting, and it would never be permitted if it was cigarettes. We’re letting these companies target our kids, appeal to our kids and deceive our children,” Gretchen Whitmer told reporters. Michigan’s chief medical executive determined that youth vaping constitutes a public health emergency. As of last week, 215 possible cases of severe pulmonary disease associated with the use of e-cigarettes had been reported by 25 states, according to the Centers for DiseaseContinue reading

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Gretchen Whitmer - USA NEWS - Gretchen Esther Whitmer

Michigan’s Legislature on Friday passed a landmark bill that would cut the country’s highest auto insurance premiums by letting drivers forego a one-of-a-kind requirement to buy unlimited medical coverage for crash injuries. The votes followed the announcement of an agreement between Republican legislative leaders and Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. She said the legislation would guarantee rate reductions for every motorist and offer choice among personal injury protection, or PIP, levels. PIP, on average, makes up half of car premiums. The measure — approved 94-15 by the House and 34-4 by the Senate — also would prohibit the use of several non-driving factors in setting rates and scale back reimbursements for health providers that treat accident victims to 190% to 230% of what Medicare pays. Unlike several other no-fault insurance states, Michigan does not have a fee schedule for care covered by auto insurers. They pay much more for the same services than is paid by employer plans or government insurance such as Medicare or Medicaid. A driver choosing to stick with unlimited coverage would see a 10% PIP reduction. Someone who fully opted out would get a 100% cut, if they have health insurance, and potentially also avoid paying much of a $220 annual per-vehicle fee that reimburses car insurers when severely injured motorists’ expenses exceed a certain amount. People on Medicaid would have to get at least $50,000 in benefits and would pay 45% less. People picking one of two other options — $250,000 or $500,000 of coverage —Continue reading

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