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Obesity's a Disease? Who knew!

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OK, they finally acknowledged it's the disease, not the cause of disease, or did they?  I know they said it yesterday but how does it change things for us?  Does it give us disability status and protection from discrimination? Is it a good thing or will they think of another way to use it against the victim? What do ya'll think?

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In the US, there are very few diseases that will automatically qualify a person for disability. To prove any disease or disorder is a disability, one must show that it prevents the sufferer from any kind of substantial gainful activity, and that it is expected to last more than a year or end in death. It is extremely difficult to prove that any condition  is severe enough to meet the requirements. Obesity is a disease, but it is considered curable/treatable, and many obese people have jobs. To give another example, alcoholism is a disease but is not a disability for purposes of insurance or social security payments.

The difference this will make is that insurance companies will be encouraged to cover treatments for obesity. For example, reimbursing membership in weight loss programs, or even gym memberships and exercise classes, or coverage for prescription drugs that treat obesity. Currently, weight loss treatments like the lap band require a co-morbid disorder (diabetes, for example) in order to be covered by most insurance plans.

I don't know that there is an agenda by the AMA, although I would be interested in hearing everyone's ideas about what the agenda might be.  I see this is a good thing for consumers who may have more options under their insurance plans. If the cause of one's obesity is Cushing's, it makes no difference because Cushing's is already a disease (and not a disability according to SSA) and "obesity treatments" are not going to help someone with Cushing's, either, so for us on this forum, it is probably not going to affect us either way. One fear I have, however, is that people like me, who did not seem to have "classic Cushing's" may have been pushed into unnecessary and invasive procedures. I always knew that my weight was NOT due to overeating or lack of exercise, but I was not able to convince my doctor's of that.

Personally, I tend to think that obesity is assumed to be the cause of disease, rather than the symptom, far too often.

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Yes, it could be a bad thing, as it could make it more likely that people with cushing's will be prescribed the now-covered obesity treatments and sent on their way, without treating the cushing's.

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I agree, BDen.  It's a gift to bariatric surgeons, lap band and obesity drug makers, quacks like Dean Ornish, who the Clinton's shoehorned in as paid treatment by the government and insurers.

Obesity is a sign of myriad conditions and diseases, it is not a disease.  It's a marker with multiple causes.  

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Thinking about this and reading the other comments, one could certainly see this move as part of the "fat shaming" mentality in this country and how the health care industry exploits that in order to avoid treating the real disease. We do the same thing with people who drink and smoke. I have emphysema and have never smoked, but I almost never tell anyone about my emphysema because of the "shame" factor. In my mind, people will assume that I smoke(d) and therefore deserve it. Interesting topic, btw. Are we biased towards skepticism because of our experiences? I know that even now, cured of Cushing's, I do not work out as much as I would like to because of the cost. But if gym memberships are ever covered by insurance, shouldn't it be for everyone, obese or not? I still think my insurance company should pay for some plastic surgery on me. I recovered from Cushing's but my body is changed as a result of the massive weight gain and loss.

Edited by 3v3

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No, obesity and Cushing's are like anything else in that they are considered disabilities.  It was in my case.  As long as it limits life activities and ability to work full time, then it's a disability.  Pituitary dysfunction has a code on their list of impairments.  It's what I used.  You have to approach it like a lawsuit which is what it is and assemble your 'evidence' aka medical records accordingly.   I'm not saying it's not difficult. Believe me, it is, but you can do it if you prepare appropriately and do your research first.  The mistake  a lot of people make, myself included, is not putting everything into it at the beginning or not hiring the best lawyer they can find.  That's the true hard part.   Most of them, IMO, see us as low hanging fruit and an easy $4-6,000.   If I had it to do over, I would have done it myself and cut out the lawyer entirely. 

 

I'm going to try to use the new 'disease' status to get rid of the gut which I consider a second tumor.  It's so cumbersome and makes it hard to do basic things like trim/paint toenails, tie shoes, reach things.   It may be after the battle, but they're going to cover it.  At my lowest weight, when I was skin and bones, I still had that roll. I've had it since I was 7 years old no matter what exercise I've done.  It's so frustrating because it's the major impairment.  It isn't just cosmetic.   It causes most of the neck/back/foot pain and hygeine issues.  It's stupid to go through the hell of trying to lose weight for months on end when a couple of sessions of lipo would take it away permanently.  That's just practical and pragmatic.  They push tummy tucks because they do get them paid for in some cases, but I don't want to take the risk and go through all that if Lipo can take care of it.  That would solve my problem. I'm going to start the process asap,  I'm sure it'll be an uphill battle but I'm determined. 

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