NASHVILLE, Tenn.– Should your taxpayer dollars be spent to fight the battle of the bulge? A plan introduced this week will allow Medicare to spend millions to help fight obesity.
On Wednesday Medicare came out and said they will pay for one on one counseling, and other services for obese Medicare recipients. But there is some concern that these efforts won't go far enough.
Step into Tresha Hamilton's kitchen. Every Sunday she's here, preparing calorie counted meals for the week. It's the secret to her weight loss success, 110 pounds and counting.
"The doctor who was overweight said to me, well you have to understand you are not going to be that
small, you were built for survival, for the ice age, and your body is built to be thicker," said Hamilton.
After her experience, she has a problem with primary care physicians counseling obese patients, without extra training.
But it's the basis of a new Medicare program which includes counseling sessions every week for a month, and more counseling to follow for 5 months for obese patients.
"Obesity is a challenge faced by Americans of all ages and prevention is crucial for the management of obesity in our country. It's important for Medicare patients to enjoy access to appropriate screening and preventive services," said a Medicare spokesman.
But some like Tresha question that access. Medicare recipients can only go to primary care physicians for counseling. They won't cover visits to dieticians, obesity clinics, or even a visit to obesity experts in hospitals.
In her own case Tresha ignored her doctor's advice when he told her she couldn't lose any more weight.
"It makes me uncomfortable because after that I continued to lose weight, ended up losing a 110, but I had to do my own research. No doctor was able to give me the information I needed unless it was in the form of a pill," she said.
Medicare believes this program is a step in the right direction, because the problem is only getting worse. New estimates show by 2030 50% of the population could be obese and right now 34 %of Americans are overweight.