CMS Approval of Indianas Medicaid Waiver Does Not Help Smokers Quit
(February 2, 2018) -
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Statement of Lew Bartfield, Executive Vice President of the Upper Midwest of the American Lung Association, in response to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services approval of the Indiana 1115 waiver:
“Indiana has made strides in improving the health of its residents since the state expanded Medicaid in 2014, providing low-income residents with access to quality and affordable healthcare. Unfortunately, with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ (CMS) approval of the Indiana’s HIP 2.0 Waiver Extension application, the first waiver to include a tobacco surcharge for Medicaid enrollees, the state will take a step back in reducing death and disease from tobacco use.
“Almost half of Indiana’s Medicaid expansion enrollees smoke. Helping these Hoosiers quit smoking will save both lives and money. While the Lung Association in Indiana applauds the newly approved policies that will improve member and provider awareness of Indiana’s quit-smoking benefits, but the tobacco surcharge that will be levied against smokers will reduce the number of Hoosiers with healthcare. The tobacco surcharge has not been proven effective in helping smokers to quit and reducing tobacco use. Studies have suggested that tobacco surcharges do not increase tobacco cessation, but rather encourage tobacco users to forgo coverage all together.
The Lung Association in Indiana believes that Indiana can and must do more to help its smokers get the help they need to quit for good but the tobacco surcharge will not achieve this goal. We remain committed to working with Governor Holcomb, Director Taylor and the Indiana legislature to improve the health of all Hoosiers, including those on Medicaid who are disproportionately impacted by tobacco use and lung disease.”
About the American Lung Association
The American Lung Association is the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease, through research, education and advocacy. The work of the American Lung Association is focused on four strategic imperatives: to defeat lung cancer; to improve the air we breathe; to reduce the burden of lung disease on individuals and their families; and to eliminate tobacco use and tobacco-related diseases. For more information about the American Lung Association, a holder of the Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Guide Seal, or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNGUSA (1-800-586-4872) or visit: Lung.org.