A bill being considered by the New York state legislature could add medical cannabis to the list of medicines covered by public health insurance plans like Medicaid, Marijuana Moment reports.
The bill, introduced to the New York Assembly on Monday by Assemblyman Richard Gottfried with 17 co-sponsors, would not require commercial health plans to cover medical cannabis — though they could, of course, choose independently to do so.
Four public health plans, however, would be required to cover cannabis medications: Medicaid, Child Health Plus, workers compensation, and the Essential Plan.
“Cost is the primary barrier to patient access in New York’s medical marijuana program. Medicaid, other public health plans, and commercial health insurance plans do not cover medical marijuana, forcing patients to pay out of pocket. Some patients begin treatment only to stop due to inability to pay, while others turn to the black market.” — Excerpt from the bill
According to language in the bill, any federal funds for insurance coverage of cannabis medicine would have to be delayed until the federal government reforms its anti-cannabis stance. Traditionally, however, New York has covered conditions and medications that lack matching funds from the federal government.