The American Medical Association officially endorsed recognizing obesity as a disease, a move member physicians hope will spur better reimbursement for treating overweight Americans and create better health outcomes.
Doctors, meeting for the AMA’s annual meeting, said such an endorsement would lead to greater investments and potentially health insurance coverage specifically for a diagnosis that someone is obese when there is a payment mechanism for evaluating and managing obesity.
The vote was not without opposition, however, as doctors worried some patients considered obese by various measures such as BMI may “otherwise be fit and healthy” and not need aggressive treatment.
“BMI is a very imperfect measure,” said Dr. Robert Gilchick, an AMA delegate who is also director of Child and Adolescent Health Program and Policy with the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health and chaired the AMA’s Council on Science and Public Health, which issued a 14-page report for the delegates to consider.
If this becomes the law of the land, how will it affect health insurance program premiums or treatments? Could it go as far as an employee filing a workers’ compensation claim citing ‘obesity’ as an occupational disease?
What do you think?