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Medicaid Policies Impact Use of Smoking Cessation Medications

Reduction in use with policies that require patients to obtain counseling; use up with increased coverage


TUESDAY, Nov. 1, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- Medicaid policies, such as those that require patients to obtain counseling in order to receive smoking cessation medications, affect use of these medications, according to a study published in the Oct. 27 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Preventing Chronic Disease.

Leighton Ku, Ph.D., M.P.H., from George Washington University in Washington D.C., and colleagues used two-way fixed effects models to examine the effects of changes in state policies and characteristics on state-level use of Medicaid tobacco cessation medications. Data were reviewed from 2010 through 2014.

The researchers observed a one-quarter to one-third reduction in the use of cessation medications with Medicaid policies that require patients to obtain counseling in order to receive medications. Usage was increased by about one-quarter to one-third in states that cover all types of cessation medications. Use levels were not affected by non-Medicaid policies.

"States could increase efforts to quit by developing more comprehensive coverage and reducing barriers to coverage," the authors write. "Reductions in barriers could bolster smoking cessation rates, and the costs would be small compared with the costs of treating smoking-related diseases. Innovative initiatives to help smokers quit could improve health and reduce health care costs."

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