Wow, the news headlines are an endless treasure trove of thought-provoking blog topics. You can include "weight loss" in your Google news notifications too, and get there. No reason I should have all the fun. No matter...
Have you had obesity-related surgery (I "know" some of you well enough now to know the answer in some cases is "yes.")? Would you consider it? Would its coverage by insurance, in whole or in part, dictate whether you would consider it? Whether you had it or not, do you judge it as medically necessary (and thus insurance-eligible) or as a form of, well, cosmetic or elective surgery akin to Botox or teeth whitening? Many of us say the former, though a few may choose the latter.
Now, the questions get a little harder. Do you buy the premise that obesity is self-inflicted and thus a matter of choice? And if so, should corrective or (what's the word here?) ameliorating surgery be something that is insurance eligible? Should a primary care physician make this determination? If so, under what criteria? More horrifying is whether your insurance company should determine your eligibility for coverage based on "managed care" and all of the horrible unfairnesses and miscarriages of medicine that those two words conjure.
So here in the super-soggy Mid-Atlantic, we have taken a momentary pause from feverish ark construction (it's still too dark at 7AM on a Sunday morning to measure cubits with accuracy; the shipwrights are sleeping in) to read the news. This one about obesity surgery insurance coverage and its consequence on insurance rates jumped out:
For those too busy or lazy to click through, here is the upshot: "Consumers shopping for health coverage in new online marketplaces may... come to a handful of plans in Virginia... (that) cost more than $1,800 a month... The plans do not include gold-plated hospital beds or guaranteed same-day access to doctors. Instead, those premiums reflect an add-on benefit for a type of costly surgery for obesity... a Virginia consumer considering gastric bypass or bariatric surgery will have to pay up to $1,500 a month more for plans that cover the procedure.
"Consumers in Maryland, by contrast, could buy any policy in the marketplace — and for dramatically less than the Virginia rider plans — and be covered for bariatric surgery because that state requires all plans to pay for it." It's built into our rate structures fundamentally, and thus stands out as less glaring.
Now I know more than to ask whether the government shutdown over Obamacare (or over Obama in general) is righteous and just and necessary, or whether it is ridiculous bordering on treasonous. That is another blog, but if you know me you know where I stand. And if you do not, you have not been paying all that much attention here, have you?