Medical Marijuana Saves Taxpayers on Medicaid Costs
October 4, 2020
The fiery debate over whether or not to expand Medicaid in Kansas is surely going to be a hot topic of the 2021 legislative session. It also seems as though legislators will be ready to give legalizing medical marijuana a fair chance at passage.
As KanCare and cannabis bills are worked through and debated, I implore lawmakers to follow the lead of Oklahoma. Standard medical marijuana licenses are $100. However, individuals who provide proof of Medicaid or Medicare enrollment or status as a 100% disabled veteran pay just $20 for their license.
Kansas patients deserve better than the status quo. A large majority of Kansans support legalizing cannabis, but an even larger percentage of the population supports expanding Medicaid. These two issues contributed to the election of Governor Laura Kelly, who supports both. This puts the majority of Kansas voters and the Governor at odds with legislative leaders who haven’t been very willing to accept either of these important issues.
Obviously, federally backed healthcare assistance programs are not going to cover the cost of marijuana or anything related to the plant, but these individuals deserve a helping hand, especially from a state that has been so willing to leave many uninsured.
Patients might rather treat their symptoms of anxiety, depression, pain, and even seizures with medical cannabis and not rely on Medicaid to pay for prescription drugs which are far more dangerous than natural MJ.
One medical journal published report in 2017 estimated that medical marijuana saved over $1 billion in taxpayer funded Medicaid programs. The conclusion was that the use of prescription drugs in fee-for-service Medicaid was lower in states with medical marijuana laws than in states without such laws.
Kansas lawmakers should allow Medicaid and Medicare consumers as well as disabled veterans to pay a fraction of the cost for their medical cannabis license. Not just legalizing medical marijuana, but also ensuring patient access is critical for it to be successful.