26 January 2010

Smoking and Health Care in West Virginia

West Virginia may have the nation's highest adult smoking rate, but its Medicaid program fails to address that despite the role tobacco use plays in health care costs, advocacy groups tell The Associated Press and others.

The American Lung Association and its allies "say the state’s Medicaid plan is both too confusing and too narrow when it comes to offering smokers a chance to quit," writes AP's Tom Breen.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends a range of seven options to help smokers quit. But West Virginia's Medicaid program has a confusing mix of these options, and no enrollee "has access to all of the options at once," AP reports. "The groups, which include the American Heart Association and the West Virginia Medical Association, want Medicaid to offer recipients who smoke a plan that includes all seven CDC-recommended therapies."

West Virginia topped CDC's 2008 estimates for smoking prevalence among adults, at 26.6 percent.

The Charleston Gazette
also has an article.

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