Oregon Pays for Obese Low-Income Patients to Undergo Bariatric Surgery

The state of Oregon is now paying for obese people on the Oregon Health Plan to undergo bariatric surgery, according to a KATU report.

The state's health commission voted to begin funding bariatric surgeries three years ago because patients who remain obese begin suffering more and more expensive ailments over time. By performing surgery before expensive ailments begin, the state aims to save money.

To work within a limited budget, the Oregon Health Plan has prioritized a list of 679 ailments that it will cover. Bariatric surgery for people with diabetes falls at number 33 on the list; for patients who are obese without diabetes, bariatric surgery is listed as number 607. From 2008-2010, the state paid for 88 bariatric surgeries, procedures that can cost up to $17,000.

Read the KATU report on bariatric surgery in Oregon.

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