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“Consequently, a new government policy to encourage prevention could end up paying for preventive services that many individuals are already receiving – which would add to federal costs but not reduce total future spending on healthcare,” the report states.
Ted Kyle, a pharmacist and chairman of the Obesity Society’s Advocacy Committee, has a family history of obesity and has struggled with the disease.
He said the current health care system as it relates to overweight Americans is “insane.”
“My health plan would not pay for obesity treatment. I paid for it out-of-pocket, and in doing so I forestalled the need for lipid-lowering medicines,” he said. “When my condition (worsened), they happily would pay for those kinds of medicines but they were not happy to pay for the costs that would keep me healthier across the board.”
Kyle said he understands the criticism of those who see the ineffective results of spending on wellness, preventive and treatment programs not grounded in evidence-based research. But Kyle believes the Treat and Reduce Obesity Act would be well worth the investment.
Freedom to be obese
Curbing obesity, as laid out in the bill, is about encouraging lifestyle changes. The CBO report underscores the challenge in government-funded programs to induce people to live healthier lives.
“Even successful efforts might take many years to bear fruit and could involve significant costs,” the report states.
And, at some level, it does come down to fruit –that is, choosing fruit over fast food, say those in the individual rights camp. It’s a question of choice, they say: The individual’s or the collective’s. Who makes those kinds of health care decisions is a growing matter of debate.
This article originally appeared on Watchdog.org.