In "Star Trek," the Prime Directive works well to protect less-advanced societies from contamination by the hyper-techy world of Starfleet.
But in this world, we need a Prime Directive that encourages health insurers who are lagging behind in their support of modern medicine.
According to the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery, only 23 states cover bariatric surgery under the Affordable Care Act. Among the 27 others, it's hit or miss if private insurers do.
It seems some insurers aren't up on studies from the University of Pittsburgh and other institutions showing that three years after bariatric surgery, over half of the patients — who were previously obese and had a hard time getting around — had no mobility deficits.
That can help people sidestep a lot of hip and knee replacements and a lot of expenses. The cost for each of the 719,000 knee replacements done in America annually ranges from $16,000 to $61,000.
On the other hand, bariatric procedures cost just $15,000 to $35,000. And the savings for patients and insurers don't stop there. After bariatric surgery, patients dodge diabetes, heart disease, memory loss, many cancers, and general pain.
Clearly, it makes sense to provide weight-loss surgery to those who need it!
And if you're overweight, it always makes sense to take steps (10,000 a day) to upgrade your diet (keep trans and saturated fats, added sugars and syrups, and processed grains off your plate).
Every pound you lose takes four pounds of pressure off your aching joints and tired muscles.
Posts by Dr. Mehmet Oz, M.D. and Dr. Mike Roizen, M.D.
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