Doctors Hope Classifying Obesity as a Disease Leads to More Treatment
Published June 19th, 2013
GAINESVILLE - Doctors say it's a big step towards solving a problem that's only growing larger: America's obesity epidemic.
The American Medical Association's decision to start classifying obesity as a disease has sparked controversy among those who believe a person's weight is the result of lifestyle choices.
Before this announcement, most insurance companies considered weight loss treatments, like bariatric surgery, to be elective procedures. That left those most in need of these treatments to find a more expensive insurance policy to cover them.
Now, at least one bariatric surgeon in Gainesville says he is hopeful that this new classification will help make these weight loss procedures more widely covered.
"Whether they choose to go on a physician assisted or supervised diet, or take medication to help with their obesity, or take something more drastic as far as having weight loss surgery, hopefully now they'll have the ability to do that," said Dr. Kfir Ben-David of Shands Hospital.
While the AMA does have a lot of clout in the medical field, it's still up to the insurance companies to decide whether they will begin to cover more of these procedures. The hope among most medical professionals is that this latest decision will only add more pressure for these insurance policies to cover what were once considered to be elective procedures.
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