Lawmakers intend to clarify that Medicaid dollars can't be spent to cover the cost of a Vermonter's supply of medical marijuana.

The House Human Services Committee voted Friday to recommend a technical correction to the state law that allows Vermonters to register with the state so they can grow their own marijuana for medical use.

The law, as passed in 2004, specified the new statute couldn't be "construed to require that coverage or reimbursement for the use of marijuana for symptom relief be provided by" private health-insurance companies, employers or through workers' compensation. Left out of the list in the law, however, was government health insurance.

The omission came to light earlier this year when a Vermonter covered by Medicaid asked to have some medical marijuana expenses covered. The request was denied, "but it did call our attention to the definition in statute," said Lorraine Siciliano, legislative liaison for the Office of Vermont Health Access.

State officials requested a provision be added to a mid-year budget adjustment and technical fix-it bill that "clarifies that OVHA doesn't have to break the law," said Hunt Blair, deputy director of health care reform.

House Human Services Committee Chairwoman Ann Pugh, D-South Burlington, said, "Our intent was not to have the public sector have to pay for something the private sector doesn't."

NewsHawk: Ganjarden:
Source: The Burlington Free Press
Author: Nancy Remsen
Contact: The Burlington Free Press
Copyright: 2010 The Burlington Free Press
Website: Medicaid Won't Pay For Medical Marijuana