February 22, 2006, - 2:48 pm
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.
Tags: America, Debbie Schlussel Is, insurance premiums, Medicare, plastic surgery, surgery, USA Today, USD