Addiction Policy News

ASAM Supports the Quit Because of COVID-19 Act

March 17, 2021

 

On March 17, the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) and 53 other organizations sent a letter of support for the Quit Because of COVID-19 Act (H.R. 2185) to the bill's primary sponsor, Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-DE). This legislation would extend comprehensive tobacco cessation coverage to all Medicaid and CHIP beneficiaries. It would also reduce barriers to accessing this coverage by eliminating cost sharing and prior authorization requirements. For the duration of the public health emergency and the two-year period that follows, the bill would provide enhanced federal funding to cover the full cost of the benefit as well as state outreach campaigns to educate providers and Medicaid and CHIP enrollees about the benefit. 

 

 

The letter highlighted the negative health impacts of tobacco use, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. Smoking weakens the immune system and increases the risk of
respiratory infections. Many of the underlying health conditions that place individuals at greater risk for severe complications from COVID-19 are often caused by tobacco use. Furthermore, tobacco use and the health complications caused by it place a significant financial burden on state Medicaid programs. Smoking-related diseases
account for approximately $39 billion in annual Medicaid costs. 

 

Read the letter here.

 

Read the bill here.