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Thu October 22, 2009
Smoking Cessation Program Still Unfunded
By Tony McVeigh
Frankfort, KY – Two years ago, Rep. John Will Stacy sponsored legislation creating a comprehensive smoking cessation program that included counseling and medications. But the state has never funded the program, which covers 285-thousand smokers on Kentucky Medicaid. Dr. Jon White of the Kentucky Medical Association says it's an untenable situation because the program, if funded, could save lives and money. "That's sound policy from a healthcare and fiscally responsible perspective."
The program requires the state to put up one-point-five million dollars to receive three-point-five million in federal matching dollars. A spokesperson for the governor agrees it's a worthy program, but says in these tight budget times the governor has not been able to find the state's share. It remains to be seen if the funding will be part of the governor's next biennial budget proposal.