Feeling sorry for the big bad insurance companies? Is this even possible?
Let me explain.
We stayed at a national hotel chain this weekend. I am fairly sure that the free food and sugary drinks they routinely supply, are on-the-whole a profitable venture, but on a microeconomic scale such was not likely the case this past Saturday night in Cincy.
The 5-7:30 evening buffet was a feeding frenzy, orders of magnitude worse than the free donut melee at morning reports in residency training.
All who choose to look, see this oft repeated truism: present humans with free food and they will behave as if they are crossing a desert the next morning. And, combine this innate mammalian behavior with the present-day sea of easily accessible food and the absence of any need for personal accountability, and voila, you have the essence of the obesity problem.
I know, it is not politically correct to say such, but now there is more evidence that obesity is not insurmountable; if only people adhere to the simple plan.
You pay them.
As published in the most recent Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), a carefully controlled randomized clinical trial showed that if you provide motivated obese women nutritious food and counseling free of charge, and then reimburse them for completing follow-up visits they will successfully shed pounds.
So it can be done. At least in this study obesity was not ‘glandular,’ or hopeless, or even surgical. The solution was simpleâ€”just get on the plan. At least this is how masters of the obvious would editorialize the results.
However, the more progressive-minded from Ivy league think-tanks suggest that since this trial was so successful, perhaps insurance companies should consider paying for Jenny Craig-like programs. As said by Brown Univeristy PhD, Rena Wing, in an accompanying editorial:
Currently, insurance companies will often cover the cost of bariatric surgery for obesity (estimated at $19 000-$29 000 per patient from insurance reimbursement data19) but do not cover the cost of commercial weight loss programs (such as that evaluated in this study, with estimated costs of approximately $1600 for 12 weeks of the program and for food). Providing commercial weight loss programs free of charge to participants might be a worthwhile health care investment.
These days, insurance companies rarely find sympathizers. But forcing them to pay people to eat well?
No meanness here.