KUNM

Senate OKs Medicaid Coverage Of Tobacco Cessation

Mar 13, 2019


The state Senate unanimously passed a bill this week to have Medicaid cover services to help people quit smoking.

 

Under the proposal, Medicaid would pay for counseling, medications and other resources that help get folks off cigarettes, e-cigs and chewing tobacco.

Alex Ross-Reed is the director of Fierce Pride, a local LGBTQ health advocacy group. That demographic traditionally has higher smoking rates than the general population.

“I hope that when people know that they are entitled to those medical services, they will use them and then improve their health and extend their lives,” she said.

Fierce Pride is currently creating a referral system of LGBTQ-friendly providers who can help folks quit.

“If you have to pay a co-pay to get your medication or counseling, that can be a really big barrier to quitting smoking,” Ross-Reed said.

So could not having a job. People who are unemployed have the second-highest smoking rate in the state.

 

The bill now heads to the House.

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Support for KUNM’s Public Health New Mexico project comes from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the McCune Charitable Foundation, and from KUNM listeners like you.