In the last few weeks nine states have worked to pass bills that restrict local lawmakers’ ability to pass future innovative and proactive public health policies. These bills are known as “preemption bills” because they block, or preempt, authority of lower levels of government to pass laws stronger than state law. Preemption bills are popular among groups like the tobacco industry to prevent future legislation that could impact the sale of its products. The following is a Statement from Christopher W. Hansen, President of the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN).
New Report Shows Most States Can Do More to Provide Comprehensive Tobacco Cessation Coverage through Medicaid
WASHINGTON, D.C. – A report released today by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Office on Smoking and Health (OSH) provided an updated snapshot of states’ Medicaid coverage for tobacco cessation. While progress has been made since the report was last released in 2014, the majority of states continue to miss opportunities to reduce tobacco-related deaths and health care costs by providing inadequate tobacco cessation coverage. The article, titled “State Medicaid Coverage for Tobacco Cessation Treatments and Barriers to Coverage – United States, 2015-2017,” is featured in this week’s issue of the CDC journal, Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
The report highlights that while all 50 states provide Medicaid coverage of some tobacco cessation treatments, only 10 provide access to comprehensive treatment and counseling services. Furthermore, several barriers to accessing treatment still exist, including out-of-pocket co-payments and lifetime limits. Missouri was the only state listed in the report that provides access to comprehensive coverage with no barriers.
A statement from Chris Hansen, president of the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) follows:
“The release of the CDC’s report shows that while progress is being made at the state level in providing Medicaid populations with access to comprehensive tobacco cessation programs, there is much more that needs to be done. The majority of states are not ensuring their Medicaid populations have comprehensive access to all of the tools they need to help them quit using tobacco despite the fact smoking rates among Medicaid enrollees are twice that of those with private insurance. Additionally, barriers to accessing medical treatment and counseling services remain widespread.
“ACS CAN is calling for every state to provide their Medicaid populations with access to comprehensive tobacco cessation services. States should make it as easy as possible for people to quit tobacco use. Doing so would result in a reduction of health care costs at the state level and would save lives.”