Refusing Healthcare to Patients with Obesity and Other Forms of Obesity Discrimination in Healthcare

Here is an alarming article on refusing care to patients with obesity. It describes a measure in the National Health System in which patients with a BMI over 30 and patients who smoke are refused surgery for 6-12 months unless it is for cancer or a life threatening situation.  Does this sound far-fetched for the United States?  There is evidence of an unconscious  discrimination "weight bias" among healthcare providers in America now in which less treatment options are presented to patients with obesity.  Additionally, some treatments such as joint replacements are limited in cases of a BMI over 40.  Ironically, treatment for the disease of obesity is hard for patients to find at the same time and frequently the same physicians are not recommending it and insurance companies are not reimbursing physicians for it.  

There is another form of "weight bais" discrimination in the health care system- a trend of examining obesity treatment and expecting it to save health care costs in order to argue for coverage.  While obesity treatment likely does save money in the mediium-term due to less health care costs and less lost time at work, other medical treatments such as chemotherapy and hemodialysis are not expected to save money in order to be covered by employers or insurance.  

There is evidence based medical treatment for the disease of obesity based on current treatment guidelines.  If you have obesity, you may need long term medical care. 

Come learn more about ambitious medical treatment for obesity at with Dr. Valerie Sutherland, MD, Board Certified in both Internal Medicine and Obesity Medicine.

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