California Bill Requiring Medicaid Coverage of Smoking Cessation Aids Would Benefit Asian-American Community, Editorial Says
California lawmakers can help reduce smoking rates in the state, particularly among the Asian-American population, "by ensuring that Medi-Cal, the state's health insurance program for the elderly, disabled and poor, covers the full range of smoking cessation services," a Capitol Weekly editorial states. Medi-Cal is the state's Medicaid program. "Smoking hurts everyone and helps no one, but the numbers tell a depressing story in Asian-American communities," where research has indicated cancer deaths are rising faster than among other ethnic groups, among other findings, the editorial adds.
According to Capitol Weekly, currently, Medi-Cal provides only partial smoking cessation benefits, and "too few" patients and doctors are aware that there is coverage at all. A bill (AB 2662) by Assembly member Mervyn Dymally (D) would require Medi-Cal to "offer the full range of personal counseling and/or all FDA-approved smoking cessation medications" and to increase public awareness of such benefits, the editorial states.
The California Medical Association and the Asian and Pacific Islander American Health Forum both support the bill, according to the editorial, which concludes, "With Medi-Cal providing smoking cessation treatment for all recipients, California's Asian community may be able to break the tobacco addiction for good" (Capitol Weekly, 5/15).