Medicaid could save $2.6 billion if 1% of smokers quit
A slight reduction in absolute smoking prevalence in the United States would result in “substantial” Medicaid savings the following year, according to findings recently published in JAMA Network Open.
“Medicaid recipients smoke at higher rates than the general population ... suggesting that investments to reduce smoking in this population could be associated with a reduction in Medicaid costs in the short run,” Stanton Glantz, PhD, of the Center for Tobacco Control, Research and Education at University of California, San Francisco, wrote.
He noted that in fiscal year 2017, Medicaid costs totaled $577 billion.
Glantz evaluated Medicaid expenditures and the economic response between changes in smoking prevalence and health care costs. All data were from 2017 and came from all 50 states and Washington, D.C.
He found that reducing absolute smoking prevalence by 1% in each state led to $2.6 billion in Medicaid savings. Each state saved a median of $25 million (interquartile range = $8 million to $35 million).
Glantz wrote that analyses over longer periods of time might find more cost reductions.
“Because some of the risks of smoking, such as cancer, emerge more slowly over time, these medical cost savings would likely grow with time,” he wrote. – by Janel Miller
Disclosure: Glantz reports no relevant financial disclosures.