Redefining obesity as a disease

by Walter Olson on July 8, 2013

Aside from the important employment law implications linked last week in this space, the American Medical Association’s decision to reclassify obesity as a disease has implications for Medicaid and private reimbursement of therapy (“now coverage policy must catch up to that consensus,” exulted an officer of the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery) and more pervasively for nanny-state initiatives: “Already, Harold Goldstein, executive director of the California Center for Public Health Advocacy, has cited the AMA declaration to boost his group’s efforts to ban junk food and tax soft drinks.” [Mike Tanner] (& welcome Joe Palazzolo, WSJ Law Blog readers)

{ 4 comments }

1 Liz 07.08.13 at 11:07 am

Obesity is not a disease, it is a symptom. For most it is a symptom of a bad lifestyle. For some it is a symptom of a disease. In those cases, Cushings disease or PCOS is the disability and already covered under disability law.

2 William Nuesslein 07.09.13 at 8:18 am

Liz’s comment reminds me of Dr. Duesberg’s claim that HIV/AIDS resulted from drug abuse. That err was picked up by President Mbeki of South Africa and led to great trouble there.

3 DEM 07.09.13 at 9:37 am

“Already, Harold Goldstein, executive director of the California Center for Public Health Advocacy, has cited the AMA declaration to boost his group’s efforts to ban junk food and tax soft drinks.”

As if we needed more evidence that the left’s promise of free health care for all comes at the price of crushing taxation and a near-complete loss of personal freedom and autonomy.

4 No Name Guy 07.09.13 at 4:43 pm

Seems like a simple case of self interest on the part of the AMA. Just think of what will now have to be covered as “treatment” for this “disease”: Lap bands & stomach stapling come to mind right off the bat. All kinds of weight loss drugs. Yes, these are “obvious” “medical” treatments for obesity. But lets think off into the future with the inevitable expansion: How about liposuction? After all, if I’m “obese” and a quick suck-fest of an operation can make my BMI go from 48 to 28, isn’t that “treatment”? How about the related tummy tucks and cosmetic, er, I mean ancillary treatments to get rid of the flaps of skin? Yep….”how DARE you not fully treat my disease” I can hear being thundered in but a few short years.

Follow the money. The AMA is doing nothing but looking to tap yet another stream of income treating what mostly is a lifestyle choice as a disease. This will be yet another burden on the responsible (e.g. those that live a healthy lifestyle – like by exercising and not shoveling face fulls of bon bon’s or greasy fast food down the pie hole by the plate full.) It’ll be yet another reason to go Galt on this messed up nation.

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