Friday, January 18, 2008

Kansas Lawmakers Look to Mandate Bariatric Surgery Coverage . . .

Looks like I arrived just in time for a battle over the bulge here in the Sunflower State. The Wichita Eagle (our paper of record) ran an article today looking at the battle to mandate insurance coverage of gastric bypass and showing the various sides to the argument.

Let's look at the facts . . .

FACT - Insurance companies cover almost any procedure to overcome life threatening conditions.

FACT - Insurance companies look for procedures and opportunities to cut their costs long term.

FACT - Insurance companies can charge premiums for specific operations, procedures and treatments in most states to help reduce offset costs to other customers.

FACT - Gastric Bypass surgery is no longer the back-alley, dirty, dangerous procedure it once was . . . DECADES ago.

So what is the problem, Kansas?

Set up strong criteria for coverage. Make the mental component important. Make a shown and proven dedication to excercise and diet change an important criteria. Insist on would-be patients looking at and participating in any other form of medicine you are comfortable with (nutritionists, mental therapy, excercise therapy, sleep studies, full body work-ups, etc. etc. etc.) and then - once you have established strong enough criteria - INSIST on coverage.

It should be that simple.

I love, too, the comments from readers of the article that people should just put down the potato chips or go for a walk instead of whining about medical coverage.

I've talked about this several times on the blog but here's what chaps my ample ass about this debate . . . if you are a smoker and you develop lung cancer (and millions do) NO ONE would look at you and ask, cynically, "Why should YOU get coverage? Why should YOU get the best medical treatment you can find? Why should YOU get a second chance at a healthier life?" No one mocks your condition. No one mocks how you got in your situation. We donate millions a year to the American Cancer Society and the American Lung Association instead. We have marches and rallies and parades and fundraisers and parties. We CELEBRATE the fact that medicine can knock the crap out of cancer - if caught early enough, given a full thrust of juice and taken seriously.

Why can't the obese - regardless of how we got to that point - have the same options? And the same cheers and celebrations for our success and the same cries that we HAVE to be helped?

So - come on, Kansas, do the right thing!

Click here to read the whole article.

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