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Susan Collins Has Introduced A Bill Designed To Encourage Medicaid Recipients To Quit Smoking

J. Scott Applewhite
Cigarette butts and residue fill a smoking receptacle outside a federal building on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, April 15, 2021.

As patients with breathing disorders face higher risk from COVID-19, Maine Senator Susan Collins, along with Tom Carper of Delaware, have introduced a bill designed to encourage Medicaid recipients quit smoking.

The Quit Because of COVID-19 Act would require state Medicaid programs to cover the cost of FDA approved smoking cessation medications and counseling for enrollees. The act would also provide 100% federal reimbursement for tobacco treatment costs during the COVID-19 pandemic and for two years after.

According to the U.S. CDC, Medicaid enrollees use tobacco at a rate nearly double that of the privately insured.

In a written statement, Collins says that tobacco is the leading cause of preventable disease and death in the U.S., and its use heightens the risk of developing serious complications from COVID-19.