A federal health care panel recommends mandatory counseling for fat people, paid for by insurance companies.
This was a “task force.” A task force sounds important. I mean, the U.S. Navy has task forces.
In government circles, a task force is a committee that is expected to produce a report. Then the report is filed away and ignored.
Let us hope this report is filed away and ignored. If it becomes part of the law, our health insurance premiums will rise.
This task force has a name, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. It sounds important.
It recommends preventative services. What are preventative services? Nagging. But not just nagging. Nagging by state-licensed professional naggers.
The task force wants physicians to identify fat patients. This should not be hard. The task force has a formula. Any person with a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or more. This is one-third of all adult Americans. The physician is to recommend counseling by a professional nagger, either paid for by the patient or his insurance company.
Under Medicare, taxpayers must provide these nagging services. There is a small co-pay. The task force wants this policy to spread to all private health insurance.
Consider the cost of this for about 50 million adult Americans in the “30 or higher” BMI classification.
The task force concluded after a review of the medical literature that the most successful programs in improving patients’ health were “intensive, multicomponent behavioral interventions.” They involve 12 to 26 counseling sessions a year with a physician or community-based program, the panel said.
Are there existing programs that meet the task force’s standards? There are hardly any.
So, the experts must be recruited. They must be trained. They must be certified. And then they must be paid.
By whom? By you and me.
Will the program work? Of course not. Nothing works for 95% of obese people. Within five years after losing weight, they are back where they were before they lost weight.
The panel acknowledged that one problem with its recommendation was that no studies have shown such intensive programs provide long-term health benefits.
But this has not stopped the government. The Centers for Disease Control is launching a pilot program in 21 cities.
In five years, we’ll know.
Here is my guess. Fat people will still be fat. Call me unscientific.