Medicaid helps people stop smoking

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Let’s return to our favorite health care debate: Does insurance actually make people healthier? After all, isn’t that supposed to be the point?

We have ample evidence that health coverage improves people’s financial well-being — check out this new paper if you missed it — and their mental health. But while the preponderance of evidence tells us that insurance helps make people physically healthier as well, a lot of people, particularly those who chastise an obsession with coverage numbers, are doubtful.

Medicaid specifically is targeted with this critique. Well, today, we have some new evidence that seems to show unambiguously that Medicaid can help lead to better physical health.

The research — from NORC’s J. Wyatt Koma, Pitt’s Marian Jarlenski, and others, to be published in Medical Care this month — shows a demonstrable increase in people who receive Medicaid quitting smoking.

Their study, which tracked data from 2011 to 2015, found:

An 8.1 percent probability that low-income adult smokers in Medicaid expansion states had quit smoking recently
A 6 percent probability for low-income adult smokers in states that did not expand Medicaid
Therefore, Medicaid expansion seems to have increased the likelihood that low-income adult smokers would quit by 2.1 percentage points, a statistically significant increase

This is how the researchers summarized their findings:

This study provides empirical evidence suggesting that expanding Medicaid coverage to nonelderly low-income adult smokers without dependent children led to a sizable increase in recent smoking cessation. This finding is likely explained by greater access to preventive health care services,including evidence-based smoking cessation services, resulting from Medicaid coverage.

Quitting smoking is an unambiguously positive improvement in …read more

Source:: Vox – All

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