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Smokers Cost Medicaid System Nearly $10 Billion
Date:11/28/2007

New Report from the American Legacy Foundation(R) Finds Tobacco-Free States Spend Less on Medicaid

WASHINGTON, Nov. 29 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- America's Medicaid system could spend nearly $10 billion less within five years if all Medicaid beneficiaries who smoke, quit. A new study released today by the American Legacy Foundation found that effective smoking prevention and cessation programs could cut Medicaid costs by 5.6 percent.

The report, Saving Lives, Saving Money II, was conducted by RTI International and funded by the foundation. This report updates Legacy's 2002 report Saving Lives, Saving Money: Why States Should Invest in a Tobacco-Free Future, that presented estimated savings to state Medicaid programs associated with reductions in adult smoking rates. The 2007 report presents a powerful new analysis of the costs of smoking to state Medicaid programs over the course of the lives of a cohort of young smokers. The methodologies used in the two reports differ and estimates are therefore not comparable.

According to the report, Medicaid spending attributable to current smoking ranges from $15 million in Wyoming to $1.5 billion in New York. Across all of the states, Medicaid expenditures would be $9.7 billion lower if all smokers in the system successfully quit.

"This report is a wake up call to the nation's health policy makers," said Janet Napolitano, Governor of Arizona and a board member of the American Legacy Foundation. "All of us who are struggling with the ever-rising costs of Medicaid should take these dramatic findings to heart. With more than 8.6 million Americans suffering from tobacco-related disease, and tobacco remaining the number one preventable cause of death in our nation, we must help smokers quit. These data make clear that investing in proven tobacco cessation programs is sound fiscal and public health policy. We can - and must - take the necessary steps to save both lives and taxpayer dollars
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SOURCE American Legacy Foundation
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