28 million which is financed by Medicaid,2 the joint federal government/state open public insurance program for low-income Americans. The clinical treatment for obesity includes some combination of nutritional counseling generally, weight-loss medication and bariatric surgery. Since the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) acknowledged obesity as a disease in 2004, most of the constant state activity related to Medicaid coverage for obesity treatment has focused on bariatric surgery. 10,000 per person, versus less invasive and less costly nutritional weight-loss and program drugs, which under federal law is one of the classes of drugs that Medicaid programs can exclude from coverage, is notable.
In this matter of JGIM, the article by Mitchell et al.5 suggests that coverage of weight-loss counseling programs may be considered a good investment for Medicaid. Weight Watchers, that was the focus of the article, runs approximately 20,000 meetings weekly around the country and offers online food tracking tools that can easily help people navigate the food environment. Mitchell et al. found that enrollees in Tennessee’s TennCare Medicaid program who became a member of Weight Watchers typically lost about 1.9 kg (4.2 lb) after seven classes and that individuals who went to more meetings lost more weight.
The authors also conducted awareness analyses including enrollees who went to the initial program but eventually withdrew from this program, and made the traditional assumption that those individuals lost no weight. This still yielded a 1.1-kg (2.4-lb) weight loss from the treatment. These findings by Mitchell et al. 12,500 estimation is … Read more