Prime Directive for Healthcare

Prime Directive for Healthcare

Medically reviewed in December 2020

In Star Trek, the Prime Directive may work well to protect less advanced societies from contamination by the hyper-techy world of Starfleet. But in this world you need a Prime Directive that encourages health insurers who are lagging behind in their support of modern medicine to get with it.

According to the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery, only 23 states cover bariatric surgery under the Affordable Care Act and among the 27 others it’s hit or miss if private insurers do. Seems some insurers aren’t up on a study from the University of Pittsburgh and others, showing that three years after bariatric surgery, over half of folks -- who were previously obese and had a hard time getting around -- had no mobility deficits!

That’s sidestepping a lot of hip and knee replacements -- and a lot of expenses. The cost for each of the 719,000 knee replacements done in America annually ranges from $16,000 to $61,000. Bariatric procedures: $15,000-$35,000. And the savings for patients and insurers don’t stop there: Post-bariatric surgery, patients dodge diabetes, heart disease, memory loss, many cancers, and general pain.

Clearly it makes sense to provide weight-loss surgery to those who need it! And if you’re overweight, it always makes sense to take steps (10,000 a day) to upgrade your diet (keep trans and saturated fats, added sugars and syrups, and processed grains off your plate). Every pound you lose takes four pounds of pressure off your aching joints and tired muscles.

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