February 22, 2006, - 2:48 pm

Your Tax $s to Fund Stomach Operations for Fat Chicks?

By Debbie Schlussel
Is your money going to help fat chicks take the easy way to getting thin? Medicare announced yesterday that it will fund three exorbitant types of stomach-stapling or “bariatric” surgery, costing $15,000-$20,000 per procedure.
This is troubling because this type of surgery is essentially cosmetic or plastic surgery, but with huge complications and a mortality rate as high as 6%. Is this a proper use of taxpayer money for people who are morbidly obese because they 1) don’t exercise and 2) don’t watch what and how much they eat?
And–surprise, surprise–bariatric surgeons are chomping at the bit because they know this will increase the number of people getting the surgery. After all, Uncle Sam is picking up the tab.
Government officials and bariatric surgeons claim that this will reduce Medicare costs by improving patients’ long-term health and that some could even come off the disability rolls.
If this will mean a reduction in Medicare’s budget, we are all for it. But dream on. Since when has a government agency–especially a bloated one like Medicare–reduced its spending after saving money? Never, and this won’t be an exception.
The other disturbing thing about this new Medicare coverage is that, according to USA Today, other insurers usually follow suit in covering the same procedures that Medicare covers. That means that your insurance premiums will probably balloon, too, as lazy people all over America get insurance to cover these expensive operations. (FYI, the vast majority of those getting these operations are women.)
What ever happened to diet and exercise? It doesn’t exist in a government that has an insatiable appetite.

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5 Responses

Cheaper and quicker solution: wire their fat mouths shut. I’ll do it for free.

Concerned Conservative on February 22, 2006 at 3:56 pm

I had no idea that one had to have a vagina in order to qualify for weight loss surgery. I’ll never look at Al Roker the same way again.

titletown on February 22, 2006 at 4:04 pm

I think that this is awful. One of my paralegals just had the surgery. She had to spend the year prior on a program of weight loss–at which she failed miserably. They gave her the surgery anyway. Every day I fear that she is going to have a problem from the surgery–and she is fairly young.
The fact that these are Medicare patients suggests that they are in their 60’s. If they have been morbidly obese for a really long time, at that age it’s a pretty fair guess that they already have other co-morbidities such as diabetes, heart problems, etc.
This seems more like a gravy train for the providers of this surgery than a safe alternative for these people.

Sue Bob on February 22, 2006 at 6:27 pm

I agree, but, I can certainly think of worse things for the government to spend my money on. Like, just about everything California legislates.

Dairenn on February 23, 2006 at 1:02 am

This is the kind of thing that happens when the Government is in charge of anything.
Welcome to Socialized medicine!
Is it any wonder that since the Federal Government started taking over health care the costs have skyrocketed.
My mother just spent one year waiting to get a cataract surgery from Medicare. Another friend who has private insurance had to wait one week.

ScottyDog on February 23, 2006 at 10:19 am

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