Medicare To Cover Obesity Counseling Without Cost Sharing

Medicare To Cover Obesity Counseling Without Cost Sharing – Kaiser Health News.

Since I’ve mentioned this to more than a few people recently, I’m writing a post about it.

This is significant for two reasons:

  1. For changing the way health care is paid for, from procedures to counseling, which talking AND listening.
  2. For changing the way we think about obesity treatment, from thinking about it as untreatable (which is a myth), to thinking about it as treatable (which the science supports)
You can read the Medicare decision memo here, which is based on the synthesis of the evidence by the US Preventive Services Task Force.
#1 has potential implications above for other things in health care that have been underemphasized (by they way they are reimbursed) such as advanced care planning (think “Engage with Grace“). It’s worth checking out to see what the parallels are.


There are people destroying their bodies to fit´╗┐ a standard that society projects that is impossible to reach. Oh and new studies coming out saying that obesity may have genetic causes. But of course we should vilify them because they are disgusting in sight and it’s totally in their power to “just eat right and exercise” Also, did you know that there ARE fat people that can and do eat healthy and exercise but can’t lose weight. Look up The Obesity Myth and HAES. @LISA

@HOSPITAL BEDS@lisa Hi Lisa, Thanks for your comment. I don’t believe that offering people obesity counseling is vilifying them, and I believe as you do that fat people can eat healthy and exercise.

I didn’t have space to put this information in my last post on Kaiser Permanente’s work on this topic (see: ), so I will here:

The Yale Rudd Center has helpful information on weight bias and why it must be eliminated. Here is a link to a presentation given by one of my colleagues on that very topic: .

Health professionals who practice in this part of medicine know the harms from weight bias, just as you suggest.

What the above post points out is that obesity can be treated successfully, and for the first time, it will be a covered service, which brings hope that the medical profession will not see it as genetics-are-destiny or unmanageable, which is a myth. The coverage decision above links to studies that show that people do lose weight and keep it off with the right help.

See what you think about the information above (the presentation and the scientific data) and feel free to post additional comments or questions about where the information came from. I appreciate the dialogue,


Ted Eytan, MD