How Cannabis Saves Money for Medicaid
It seems that Medical Cannabis is growing in popularity in the United States and in the world seeing that roughly 80% of the US population is in favor of legalization. There are numerous benefits that can be obtained due to legalization.
Despite prohibitionists clamoring about how cannabis will “ruin society” and “cost us a lot of money” due to the lack of productivity, workplace accidents and the rest of the ill-conceived ideas, we are finding that post legalization none of these things are happening.
In fact, it seems that the opposite is coming true in relation to legalization whether it is an increase of state taxes, a reduction of crime (in certain areas where legalization occurred) as well as a reduction in costs (law enforcement and imprisonment).
Another thing that has occurred is that medical patients are “switching to cannabis” from their pharmaceuticals. In fact, in states that have legalized marijuana there has been a 25% reduction of opioid overdoses.
However, this piece of data doesn’t just reflect in “lives saved” but can also equate to “money saved” especially when it comes to Medicaid.
How Medicaid could have Saved $1 Billion
Health Affairs recently published a new report which outlined that if all the states in the US would have legalized marijuana, they could have saved $1 Billion dollars.
The report analyzed data from 2007 to 2014 and discovered that patients did substitute medical cannabis for FDA approved prescription drugs.
According to the study they found; “Total estimated Medicaid savings associated with these laws ranged from $260.8 million in 2007 to $475.8 million in 2014.” While this is only 2% of the total budget for Medicaid, which was $23.9 billion in 2014, the fact of the matter is it is still a lot of saving. In fact, each state would have saved approximately $19.825 million per year.
According to the study, only 26% of Medicaid customers are enrolled in a “fee-for-service” program and if they would have applied their analysis to Medicaid Managed Care, the savings would triple to $3.89 billion if all states opted in for a legal cannabis system.
What Drugs are being substituted?
The study specifically looked at conditions that are said to be treatable by cannabis. These conditions and illnesses included; anxiety, depression, glaucoma, sleep disorders and spasticity. With roughly 42% of patients using cannabis for nausea as opposed to their pharmaceuticals and 15% replacing their spasticity medication, we can see that cannabis is filling a void which results in positive savings.
Other drugs that saw a decline was 13% for depression drugs, 12% for psychosis drug prescription and roughly 11% for pain killers. For the rest of the disorders listed, there was no significant drop to be noted.
The authors of the study also commented on the fact that states keep on changing their medical marijuana laws and include new conditions as the programs mature. Thus, making it difficult to track exactly which drugs are being replaced by cannabis.
What’s the DEA got to do with it?
Currently, according to the DEA scheduling of controlled substances, cannabis is placed on the exact same level of “danger” as Heroin, LSD and Psilocybin. This means that the substance has no accepted medical value and has a high potential for abuse.
Obviously, for those who read my articles, I have gone into depth about how the scheduling of cannabis and virtually every drug in the Schedule I category does have medical value, and this includes Mescaline, LSD, psilocybin and cannabis.
It is no doubt that further research in all of these “drugs” are required, however there are plenty of studies by institutions such as M.A.P.S that indicate that these “mind-altering” substances do possess medical value.
Nonetheless, the study in question does point out the fact that marijuana does indeed hold medical value and that the current scheduling of cannabis according to the DEA is doing more “harm than good”. While it didn’t specifically say so, it does hint towards this truth.
Making Money in Hard Times
The US has a staggering debt, set somewhere in the $17 trillion margin. This means that at a time where politicians are trying to “cut expenses” and “balance the budget” as they so patriotically claim they do, perhaps saving cash on things like Medicaid through legalization could be a very viable option.
Apart from saving money in Medicaid, legalization has a lot of other “money saving potential” such as a significant reduction in law enforcement costs, housing prisoners and let’s not forget about the added tax revenue generated by the legal cannabis industry.
It seems that on all fronts prohibition is failing us, even within healthcare. Don’t you think it would be wise to end a drug war that is costing us an arm and a leg and start saving money in times where “money” is fickler than the promises made by corrupt politicians.
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