The American Cancer Society is one of a number of groups supporting a new bill that would authorize Medicare to pay for smoking cessation counseling and Medicaid to pay for both prescription and nonprescription smoking cessation drugs. The
The American Cancer Society is one of a number of groupssupporting a new bill that would authorize Medicare to pay for smokingcessation counseling and Medicaid to pay for both prescription andnonprescription smoking cessation drugs. The bill is called the Medicare,Medicaid, and MCH Smoking Cessation Services Act. (MCH stands for Maternal andChild Health, a program through which the federal government gives funds tocommunity health clinics.)
The introduction of the Senate and House versions ofthe bill (S. 622/H.R. 1229) paralleled the publication of a report on women andsmoking by US Surgeon General David Satcher, MD.
The consensus in the report wasthat each year women account for 39% of all smoking-related deaths in the UnitedStatesa proportion that has more than doubled since 1965. Barbara Phillips,MD, a member of the American Lung Association’s national board of directors,said that the increase can be explained by the tobacco industry’s"shameful history of targeting girls and women." She alludes to arecent report from the Federal Trade Commission, which found that tobaccoindustry advertising and promotional expenditures increased from $6.73 billionin 1998 to $8.24 billion in 1999a 22.3% increase.
Sen. Dick Durbin(D-Ill), sponsor of S. 622, said, "Sadly, the famous slogan was right. We’vecome a long waybut a long way in the wrong direction." The House andSenate bills have substantial bipartisan support, enhancing their chance ofpassage.