House panel approves test of Medicaid coverage for obesity treatment | SummitDaily.com
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House panel approves test of Medicaid coverage for obesity treatment

DENVER – Up to 400 severely obese Medicaid recipients with related diseases such as diabetes, hypertension or coronary heart disease could receive treatment from the state under a bill that won unanimous approval in a House committee Monday.The House Health and Human Services Committee voted to send House Bill 1066 to the Appropriations Committee for review of the potential costs.Sponsor Rep. Alice Madden, D-Boulder, said the two-year pilot program, which would offer nutritional counseling and other therapy, along with prescription drugs when appropriate, could cost the state up to $500,000, but she said savings from the improvement in the health of obese patients should exceed those costs.Colista Lich of Denver, who calls herself a “survivor of morbid obesity,” told the panel her weight dropped from 320 pounds to 150 pounds after gastric bypass surgery about 15 months ago. Before surgery, her kidneys were failing, she had type 2 diabetes and hypertension and would have needed hip and knee replacement surgery, she said.Lich said drugs and surgery help, but the behavior-modification component of treatment for the severely obese is crucial.”We eat to forget, to cope, to remember, to celebrate,” she said. “Without a comprehensive program that treats both the body and soul of the obese you would not have success.”


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