Texas Taxpayers May Cover New Obesity Program

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Texas Taxpayers May Cover New Obesity Program

Texans don’t want to go through life fat, sick, and uninsured. But here in America, if you don’t have medical insurance – or a big pile of cash – you can pretty much forget weight loss surgery. Although Medicare will cover bariatric procedures in certain cases, patients who don’t meet Uncle Sam’s strict qualifications are out of luck.

But, all that may be changing for uninsured patients in Tarrant County, Texas – the county surrounding Fort Worth – who may soon have another option for weight loss surgery at the county hospital.

The low-cost and sometimes FREE services available at the taxpayer-supported hospitals and clinics of the Tarrant County Hospital District are often the only source of medical care for uninsured area residents.

But, these services are usually limited to treating injuries, chronic diseases, or maternity care. Now, the county health network is considering a proposal to offer comprehensive obesity treatment to selected patients who are members of the county’s low-cost health plan.

Initially, the treatment would consist of medical counseling on diet and nutrition; but going forward, doctors would identify lower risk patients to receive bariatric surgery.

Supporters of the proposal contend that spending local tax dollars to treat obesity up front will save JPS Health Network the cost of treating diabetes, heart and liver issues associated with obesity in the future. Of course, naysayers believe the proposal is little more than a taxpayer bailout of patients who fail to take personal responsibility for their eating habits.

But whether or not Texas taxpayers will foot the bill for the new obesity program will be determined by the District, whose decision is expected later this year.

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