I couldn't get anyone I know to speak on the record for this story. The only regular smokers I know are in the restaurant industry, and in spite of the fact that anyone can see them smoking outside between shifts, no one wanted to admit to smoking e-cigarettes. "Is it because e-cigarettes look kin ... More >>
Even after the Affordable Care Act, tens of thousands of Texans have no medical coverage. That is why the San Jose Clinic in Midtown still exists.
The Affordable Care Act has been rolled out, the insurance enrollment website went live and it's had a lot of snags in the process. Hair Balls will bet no one knows that better than U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. She's been out on tour, promoting Obamacare while simulta ... More >>
Gov. Rick Perry has a hatred for the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) that comes as natural as breathing to him, but it seems hate only goes so far when there's $100 million in federal funding on the table. When U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius came to Texas a few weeks ... More >>
You might be able to find someone who hates the Affordable Care Act more than Gov. Rick Perry, but you'll have to look hard, especially now that U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius came all the way to Houston on Monday to announce a video contest promoting the federal healthc ... More >>
As has been made clear, Gov. Rick Perry isn't a fan of the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare), and it seems the guy with the perfect mop of hair is even less of a fan of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius after her swing through the state Thursday. Sebelius was in Austin to try ... More >>
Memorial Hermann treats patients without insurance, tells them not to worry about the cost and then sues them for thousands of dollars.
Hospitals, doctors and dealers have made Medicare the nation's sweetest crime. The feds are now trying to shutter the door.
Advocates of Medicaid expansion -- part of Obama's Affordable Care Act -- continue to ply Texas lawmakers with economic numbers, making the point that the expansion of the program is not a cost, but a benefit, to taxpayers. Like Sisyphus eternally pushing his boulder up the hill, advocates for Medi ... More >>
Texas is only spending 2.4 percent of the tobacco settlement money it collects on tobacco prevention campaigns, placing the state near the bottom of the Centers for Disease Control's recommended state-spending list, according to a December report. The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids' report states t ... More >>
A man described by prosecutors as "a prominent Houston radiologist" has agreed to pay $650,000 to settle claims that he provided kickbacks to get physicians to refer business his way. Jack L. Baker of the Fairmount Diagnostic Center in Pasadena entered into the agreement today, settling claims file ... More >>
Governor Rick Perry has confirmed in a letter today to U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius that he's no pal of socialism and as such, must reject two key measures of Obamacare - a state insurance exchange and expanding Medicaid. To embrace a state exchange would mean playing ... More >>
The one thing that The Official High Times Cannabis Cookbook doesn't tell you is that making medibles is a smelly process. Measurements in the brand-new cookbook are accurate if disjointed -- going from ounces to grams to cups in one recipe, for example -- and the recipes are reliably good. Many of ... More >>
"Ancient people almost exclusively ate their cannabis, saving seeds for food, and using the resinous flowers for medicinal, recreational, and spiritual use," the introduction to the new The Official High Times Cannabis Cookbook tells us in its fascinating introduction to humanity's long history of e ... More >>
In a strange about-face, the president tries to hack medical marijuana off at the knees.
Houston makes the fraud lineup.If you're going to defraud the U.S. government, go big. It's not like they're going to miss a stray $62 million or so. Thus was the thinking of Houstonian Jodi Leonore Latson, 45, who -- unfortunately for her -- ended up as one of the bigger fish caught in a na ... More >>
Ron Paul and Barney Frank, probably discussing PhishIt takes a big issue to get US Reps Barney Frank and Lake Jackson's Ron Paul leading the fight together, but they have found one: Weed. Paul and Frank and four other Democrats (only one of whom has a last name that's also a first name) are ... More >>
Christina Clardy among those convicted.Christina Clardy, a 61-year-old West U doctor, was convicted with two other people of running a massive Medicaid-and-money-laundering scam that somehow involved Nigerian tankers, the U.S. Attorney's Office announced today. Kenneth Anokam, 56, and Niger ... More >>
Calling all "patients"How lucrative can ripping off Medicare be? Lucrative enough that one scamster was offering up to $1,000 a patient to "recruiters" who sent customers her way. Doris Vinitski, 46, the owner of Onward Medical Supply, signed up the patients and then started billing Medicare ... More >>
"I fantasize sometimes that my musical career would hit gold and help us escape these grim realities, but it's not something I really expect to happen." There are few issues in the current political climate more fraught with contention than whether or not the U.S. government will take a more ... More >>
Joe Camel is in the other 30 percentIf you want to ban smoking in all indoor work and public places in Texas, then you agree with 70 percent of residents here, according to a new poll by the Smoke-Free Texas Coalition. Such a ban is supported by 67 percent of Republicans, 69 percent of Indep ... More >>
The kidz and their tobaccoTexas is set to get $1.8 billion this year from the huge tobacco-litigation settlement of a decade ago, but it will spend just 0.6 percent of that on preventing kids from smoking, a report from a coalition of health groups said today. The state spends $11.4 million ... More >>
dixieelixirs.comMedicinal marijuana is legal in 14 states, and it's big business. Earlier this month the New York Times reported on the financial boom from medicinal marijuana ads in Colorado, citing our sister publication in Denver and Village Voice Media's COO, Scott Tobias:
Send a few to Galveston, RonnieSmokers can enjoy a rare victory in the Banning Wars thanks to Galveston.The city council there ignored the wishes of the new mayor and in a close vote revised the drastic ban on public smoking that had been in effect since the first of the year.That ban outlawed sm ... More >>
Image from disinformationIt's possible an announcement was madeOur sister blog, Toke of the Town -- the number one site for all weed-related news on the net -- reported yesterday on the founding of a new group seeking to make medical marijuana legit in Texas.Lots luck with that, fellas.There's an ... More >>
Hey you two!! Take it outside!! At least you won't have to walk farThe Kemah city council couldn't agree on a smoking ban in bars and restaurant bars at their meeting last night, but they did agree on one thing: Those desperate, addicted puffers forced outside in rain, cold and heat can be a litt ... More >>
Marijuana's steady creep toward legalization nationwide.
Seal courtesy DOJUsually when the Justice Department announces the settlement of a Medicaid-fraud case, it's a small-time operation dealing with wheelchairs or even adult diapers.Not today.Today they've nabbed a nearly-$10 million settlement out of Methodist Hospital here for defrauding the federal ... More >>
The Ban and Business
Photo by porcelaingirlTwo years ago, Houston City Council approved a smoking ban for local bars. This week, it was announced that the city had spent $12,000 to measure the impact of the ban.Their conclusion? It had no impact on bar sales whatsoever. "It's reassuring that we did the right thing ... More >>
Who says Texas isn't battling cigs?
Here’s yet another list that Texas finds itself at the bottom of: the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids’ report of how states have been spending (or not spending) the money they’ve been receiving from the landmark 1998 multi-billion dollar settlement with Big Tobacco. Texas comes in at 46, s ... More >>
Will "self-enforcement" be enough for Houston's expanded smoking ban to work?
City Hall and the Greater Houston Restaurant Association once again threaten the right to light up in bars
All kidding aside, why smoking may be good for Houston
The government says Clayton Jones shouldn't smoke marijuana. He says it's the only thing that keeps him from blowing his brains out.
Blowing Smoke, Pay to Play, Ill Will
A tobacco company takes to the streets to reassure marginalized smokers
Smokers' rights activist Dave Pickrell thinks his freedom is being stubbed out cigarette by cigarette. He's fighting to stop that, coughing all the way.
Warning: Tobacco companies' advertising money may be addictive in Houston's club scene
M.D. Anderson just can't say no to research funding from the tobacco industry