Mississippi November

Mississippi Changing Course on Obesity

With the news that Mississippi will start paying for bariatric surgery in its Medicaid program, it seems that a shift in thinking about obesity may be taking hold there.

The state’s Medicaid director, David Dzielak, recently explained, “We are pursuing all clinical options to reduce the co-morbidities associated with obesity.” He wrote in the public notice of this change:

This SPA [State Plan Amendment] is being submitted to help improve or resolve many obesity-related conditions, such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, and more, because the state of Mississippi is currently ranked as third in the nation in obesity at a rate in excess of thirty-five (35%).

The current perspective contrasts sharply with what was being said just two years ago there. Executive Director Therese Hanna of the Center for Mississippi Health Policy explained in 2013 that the health exchanges under Obamacare in her state were not going to cover the cost of obesity surgery by saying:

Most of the discussion in our state is how do we provide the kind of care for things like high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart disease. So we have a lot of needs to be covered other than obesity itself.

Perhaps we can hope that this shift points to a larger trend toward better access to obesity care.

Click here and here to read more. Click here for the public notice from Dzielak.

Mississippi November, photograph © Sandy Auriene Sullivan / flickr

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December 7, 2015

One Response to “Mississippi Changing Course on Obesity”

  1. December 09, 2015 at 5:27 pm, Allen Browne said:

    Whoever is driving this deserves applause for their understanding of the disease and its comorbidities and they deserve support for a difficult project.