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Medicaid Could Save $10 Billion Over 5 Years if Recipients Quit Smoking, Study Says

With all the news about government spending on unnecessary items comes news that spending on a program that helps reduce medicaid expenses would be a wise decision.

America’s Medicaid system could spend $10 billion less in costs for its patients’ care over the next five years if they were to stop smoking, according to a new study by the American Legacy Foundation.

This study also found that effective smoking prevention and cessation programs could cut the cost of funding Medicaid by 5.6 percent. This is according to a recent press release issued by the American Legacy Foundation.

According to the report, the costs vary from state to state. In a state such as Wyoming the current Medicaid spending on smoking is $15 million. Meanwhile, in a much more populated state such as New York, that total is much higher, in the amount of $1.5 billion. Overall as a country, if all the smokers on Medicaid quit at the same time it would save the country $9.7 billion according to the press release.

“This report is a wake up call to the nation’s health policy makers,” said Janet Napolitano, who is the Governor of Arizona and also a board member for the American Legacy Foundation. “All of us who are struggling with the ever-rising costs of Medicaid should take these dramatic findings to heart.

With more than 8.6 million Americans suffering from tobacco-related disease, and tobacco remaining the number one preventable cause of death in our nation, we must help smokers quit. These data make clear that investing in proven tobacco cessation programs is sound fiscal and public health policy.

We can – and must – take the necessary steps to save both lives and taxpayer dollars.”, concluded Napolitano.

The amount of taxpayer money that could be saved if smoking is treated at a young age is significant. According to the press release if every state could prevent smoking among all current 24-year-olds, the savings for Medicare would range for each state from $1.4 million for Alaska, all the way up to $125 million for Texas.

The study also showed that the cost for treating women smokers is much higher than males. The average spent on a female smoker in Medicaid funds is $1,372, while for men it is $6.

Medicaid ImageThroughout the country 20.8 percent of adults in the country are current smokers based on the most recent statistics from 2006 according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC also revealed that smoking rates are not dropping throughout the country. This is the situation for the past two years, after witnessing the smoking rate dropping for seven consecutive years. The rates have remained steady over these past two years. Indicating that the number of potential Medicaid members who smoke is not dropping as it had in past years, increasing the likelihood of the expense of smoking on Medicaid dollars will increase.

SOURCE:
Prnewswire.com. “Smokers Cost Medicaid System Nearly $10 Billion”.

http://www.prnewswire.com/cgi-bin/stories.pl?ACCT=104&STORY=/www/story/11-29-2007/0004713426&EDATE=