Who do you think will benefit the most now that physicians voted overwhelmingly to label obesity as a disease that requires a range of interventions to advance treatment and prevention? Is it the drug companies, the physicians or is it the insurance companies? Although policies adopted by the House of Delegates have no legal standing, decisions are often referenced in influencing governmental bodies. This decision could have implications for provider reimbursement, public policy, patient stigma, and International Classification of Diseases coding.

“Obesity is a pathophysiologic disease. There is a treatment for this disease; it involves behavioral modifications, medications, and surgeons. Obesity affects minorities disproportionately,” said Jonathan Leffert, MD, alternate delegate for Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Metabolism. “The scientific evidence is overwhelming.

“There’s new hope for heavy people desperate to lose weight. Many insurers are stepping up their coverage of obesity.

Is President Obama’s Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) wrong to ask for more screening and counseling for obesity covered under a preventive services benefit?  One in 3 Americans are 35 pounds overweight which is a BMI of 30 or above.  Obamacare will essentially force Americans to lose weight through incentives provided by employers and insurance corporations. By law, beginning in January 2014, you can be grandfathered into the program that develops plans to combat obesity with severe monitoring of your body mass index (BMI). This information will dictate how you are dealt with and what medical care services you are eligible for. Now that the American Medical Association (AMA) determined that obesity is a disease, and not a condition that you are able to control, do you believe that simply being obese means you have a disease? Does having the obesity disease mean you have to take new drugs to cure it?

Some insurance companies have helped obese patients fight fat for years. They’ve offered weight-loss and wellness programs at businesses, schools and in communities. Some have paid for prescription obesity medications and even covered expensive bariatric surgeries, including gastric bypass.

But now most insurance plans are required to help obese patients try to lose weight under President Obama’s health care law. Exactly how they do it is up to the individual plans.