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Georgia worst state at helping smokers quit, American Lung Association report says

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Georgia is the worst state in helping smokers to quit, in large part because of the lack of coverage for most Medicaid patients, according to a report from the American Lung Association.

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Georgia's failure to provide smoking-cessation coverage for Medicaid patients contributed to its ranking by the American Lung Association.  Zach Boyden-Holmes/File
Zach Boyden-Holmes/File
Georgia's failure to provide smoking-cessation coverage for Medicaid patients contributed to its ranking by the American Lung Association.

In “Helping Smokers Quit: Tobacco Cessation Coverage 2011,” the association ranked Georgia first on the list of the “least quit-friendly states.”

Georgia is one of two states that do not provide tobacco-cessation coverage for patients on Medicaid who are not pregnant. There were four factors considered in the ranking, but “the first and the biggest is the Medicaid coverage because we know that people on Medicaid smoke at higher rates than the average population, so that is a really important piece,” said Jennifer Singleterry, the manager of cessation policy for the association and the lead author of the report.

More than 36 percent of adults on Medicaid smoke, compared with 22.7 percent for the general population, according to the report.

Smoking-related illnesses cost state Medicaid programs an average of $761 million in 2010, the report said.

“Smoking costs taxpayers a lot of money right now,” Singleterry said. “And it has for years. Georgia could see a lot of savings even if a small percentage of smokers on Medicaid quit. There would be a huge savings.”

The Georgia Department of Community Health, which oversees Medicaid in Georgia, said in an e-mail last month that providing the coverage would cost $13 million a year and that “there are no federal matching funds available,” which Singleterry said is not true.

Some relief might be available in the future. Advocates are fighting to get comprehensive tobacco cessation coverage included in the Essential Health Benefit that all plans will have to provide in the state insurance exchanges under the Affordable Care Act in 2014.

Medicaid programs in 2014 will no longer be able to exclude tobacco-cessation coverage, but Singleterry said states don’t have to wait until then.

“We’re encouraging states to start reaping these savings now, start saving lives and money now,” she said.

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Chillen
17
Points
Chillen 12/07/11 - 10:10 am
0
0
It is not the states

It is not the states responsibility to stop people from smoking. No government needed. We are all adults and outgrew our need for a nanny years ago.

InChristLove
22485
Points
InChristLove 12/07/11 - 12:31 pm
0
0
When the state is responsible

When the state is responsible for paying the medical cost of those on medicaid then I'd say they would have a vested interested in helping those who smoke quit.

Chillen
17
Points
Chillen 12/07/11 - 03:21 pm
0
0
And they should not be paying

And they should not be paying for that either, especially if they smoke.

Mr. Fallacy
0
Points
Mr. Fallacy 12/07/11 - 03:57 pm
0
0
Very true! Only children need

Very true! Only children need nannies. We do not need government holding our hands, we are adults! That means...

NO POLICE!
We are adults and that means we are responsible, crime? what crime?

NO LIBRARIES!
We are adults and we are responsible for having a job, with that we can afford our own books.

NO PUBLIC SCHOOLS!
We are adults and that means we are reasonable thinkers. Why have schools when we can just tell our children what we know?

"no government needed" sounds like a great idea ;)

socks99
250
Points
socks99 12/07/11 - 06:24 pm
0
0
Let me guess: When the state

Let me guess: When the state medicaid fund pays for the 'smoking cessation classes' these monies, conveniently, are handed over to the American Lung Association! That's A LOT of cash they are missing from bad old GA, huh?!

They've conveniently quantified how much the smokers on medicaid cost us; I wonder if they'd be so kind as to tell us how effective the 'smoking cessation' voodoo rituals are?

No one should, uh, hold their breath waiting for that one!

Taylor B
5
Points
Taylor B 12/07/11 - 10:06 pm
0
0
Ok, so what if cigs are taxed

Ok, so what if cigs are taxed at crazy rates to pay for these programs. Google that tidbit. I think its like 2% is actually used for these programs.

Bruno
780
Points
Bruno 12/07/11 - 10:38 pm
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Excellent point Chillen.

Excellent point Chillen. Silly attempt at a point Mr. Fallacy.

copperhead
1035
Points
copperhead 12/08/11 - 05:17 am
0
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ALL smokers should be

ALL smokers should be imprisoned indefinitely. They are terrorists and smoke just to cause the rest of us to become sick from second-hand smoke. Arrest them today for a safer America.

david jennings
625
Points
david jennings 12/08/11 - 11:04 am
0
0
I won't say anything to make

I won't say anything to make smokers mad, they will automatically lash out at beer drinkers. I am thankful tobacco never agreed with me, but.....

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