(KCPW News) Smoking could cost poorer Utah residents more for their healthcare. Republican Representative Paul Ray is introducing a bill in the upcoming legislative session that would increase Medicaid co-pays for smokers.
“We have people who smoke who are costing taxpayers money,” he tells KCPW. “What we are looking at is imposing a two-to-three-dollar co-pay for the smoker. We’re not talking every member of the family, just the individual that smokes.”
Ray says the reasoning behind his bill is to not only give smokers more of an incentive to quit, but to help with the state’s rising Medicaid costs.
“You know, if we stick with Obamacare that’s in the works right now, we know that the state of Utah is not going to be able to afford Medicaid,” Ray says. “There are going to be a lot of people doing without. It’s a carrot. If you quit smoking you are going to save these costs, it’s going to be cheaper, we’re not going to have to pay as much in long term health care.”
The lawmaker says if passed, the policy could one day be expanded to those who are obese or alcoholics.
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