Smoking is the #1 cause of premature death and preventable illness in the United States. And since one-third of Medicaid participants smoke, compared to 17 percent of the general population, you’d think the states would be all about helping people in their Medicaid programs to quit.
But just 10 percent of Medicaid participants who smoke are getting medication to help them quit, according to a study published Tuesday in the journal Health Affairs. That’s 830,000 people in 2013.
Treatments include over-the-counter remedies like nicotine gum and patches, which Medicaid will pay for when a patient has a doctor’s prescription, as well as the prescription medications bupropion (Welbutrin) and varenicline (Chantix).
Some states are doing a lot better than others at helping people quit. Massachusetts and Minnesota, which have gone out of their way to promote smoking cessation to Medicaid enrollees, have among the highest treatment rates among Medicaid participants, with more than 20 percent of smokers getting at least one prescription in 2013, the study found.
But Alabama, Arkansas, Kansas, Mississippi, Rhode Island and Texas had rates below 7 percent. “The states
Tagged: obamacare news