Taxpayers Increasingly Foot Bill for Bariatric Surgery
POSTED: Monday, June 25, 2012 - 12:33pm
UPDATED: Tuesday, June 26, 2012 - 10:29am
AUSTIN, Texas — This article is the second of an occasional series on the consequences of state efforts to curb spiraling health costs, and the dollars lawmakers might target in the future.
As the ranks of the obese in Texas have swelled, so too has state and federal lawmakers’ comfort with forking over taxpayer dollars for weight-loss surgery for the elderly and the indigent.
A Texas Tribune analysis of federal and state health care expenditures shows Medicare spending for weight-loss surgeries for Texas seniors — everything from gastric bypass to gastric banding — grew by nearly 400 percent between 2006 and 2010, from $340,000 to $1.7 million. Since 2009, the number of bariatric procedures covered by Medicaid, the state health provider for the disabled, children and the very poor, has more than doubled. And annual Medicaid spending has jumped from $290,000 to $2.7 million in the last three years, the bulk of which was supplemental payments made to managed care plans responding to the surge.
Read more from the Texas Tribune here.