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Obesity Is A Disease

Discussion in 'The OT' started by Drucifer, Jun 18, 2013.

  1. Jun 24, 2013 #81 of 114
    MysteryMan

    MysteryMan Well-Known Member DBSTalk Club

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    Captain, Spock here. After re-examining the "Obesity is a Disease" thread I have come to the conclusion that my initial calculations were wrong. Apparently there are intelligent life forms there.
     
  2. Jun 24, 2013 #82 of 114
    James Long

    James Long Ready for Uplink! Staff Member Super Moderator DBSTalk Club

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    disease /dis·ease/ (dĭ-zēz´) any deviation from or interruption of the normal structure or function of any body part, organ, or system that is manifested by a characteristic set of symptoms and signs and whose etiology, pathology, and prognosis may be known or unknown.

    Perhaps you personally need to know the pathology ... but the pathology does not need to be known for something to be a disease.
     
  3. Jun 24, 2013 #83 of 114
    Stewart Vernon

    Stewart Vernon Roving Reporter Staff Member Super Moderator DBSTalk Club

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    Worth mentioning...

    If an obese person put the same effort into losing weight as he would put into arguing that it is a disease... that person would lose some weight.

    If that same person has a disease... it would be much more difficult to get rid of without the assistance of the medical community.

    I speak from the position of a person who has been on both sides of the obesity line... though I argue against things like BMI... because I'm 6' and legitimately big boned, and I was down to 180 lbs at one point and fairly muscular, and hovering right on the obesity line according to BMI! That was insane... but I wouldn't argue that at the moment I am definitely on the heavy side and do need to drop off some lbs... I'm just too lazy at the moment to do what needs to be done to make it happen... but I know full well how to make it happen, and nobody but me is to blame for my weight being wherever it is now (have no working scale, but I'm sure I'm well above where I ought to be).
     
  4. Jun 25, 2013 #84 of 114
    James Long

    James Long Ready for Uplink! Staff Member Super Moderator DBSTalk Club

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    Are you assuming that those arguing that it is a disease are obese? Are you assuming that those arguing that it is a disease don't want to fight it like a mortal enemy?

    It depends on the disease. We have already heard that diabetes can be kept in check with lifestyle changes instead of medicine. There are other diseases that have non-medical treatments. While those who have diseases may appreciate the assistance of the medical community some seek alternative cures for their ailments. Whether those cures are more difficult or less difficult than what the medical community offers is a matter of opinion.
     
  5. Jun 25, 2013 #85 of 114
    BattleScott

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    What I worry about more than anything is the impact on health insurance premiums. If insurers are forced to cover obesity treatments, or even more importantly, are no longer allowed to penalize these "poor diseased obese" as far as rates go, then it will get even worse for the health conscious minority subsidizing an obese nation.

    In the last few years, I (as well as my company) have finally seen a pretty good reduction in my personal health care premiums due to the availability of a high deductible HSA and reduced rates for not smoking and having what the call "favorable metrics".

    To me it this new "disease" could have the same impact as saying, sorry insurers, "smoking" is a disease and you can no longer target smokers for higher premiums.
     
  6. Jun 25, 2013 #86 of 114
    MysteryMan

    MysteryMan Well-Known Member DBSTalk Club

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    Give them time. I'm sure the same mucky mucks who labeled obesity a disease will label smoking a disease.
     
  7. Jun 25, 2013 #87 of 114
    Laxguy

    Laxguy Honi Soit Qui Mal Y Pense.

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    Winters,...
    Mr. Scott-

    By the same token, if obesity-the-problem is really addressed, premiums will go down (really, not go up as fast as otherwise) due to less care, less $$, needed in later years for obesity and old age related issues. Well, it could happen.....
     
  8. Jun 25, 2013 #88 of 114
    Stewart Vernon

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    Worth noting... the whole "people being healthy will mean lower premiums" thing is a pipe dream. I give you as an example:

    NC has had droughts in recent years... they ask (and sometimes mandate) water conservation... people conserve water, then the water company is losing money... so the water company asks for a rate increase. Same thing happens for electricity... they ask us to conserve and "lower your bill" but if enough people do that, then the rates go up to make up for lost revenue.

    Rest assured... that IF we ever made headway on health problems... rates would go up to make up for lost revenue due to more healthy people needing less services.

    So I call "strawman" to some extent on the blaming of others for high costs... the high costs are there to make a profit, just like any business... and when demand goes up OR down, prices change...
     
  9. Jun 25, 2013 #89 of 114
    houskamp

    houskamp New Member

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    real question is can you get denied ins for a "preexisting condition" now for being overweight?
     
  10. Jun 25, 2013 #90 of 114
    Laxguy

    Laxguy Honi Soit Qui Mal Y Pense.

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    Winters,...
    SV-

    Note I said rates might not go up as fast!

    And while there is profit motive in a lot of health care, and inefficiencies, it's not like regulated utilities in many regards.
     
  11. Jun 26, 2013 #91 of 114
    acostapimps

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    In my job it requires a lot of movement back and forth for 8 hours, and lots of lifting and jumping in and out of forklifts everytime, so even if I indulge fast food quite a few or eat a lot at home, it doesn't do much to my body when I burn it off at work, but that's no excuse to keep eating and eating just because of your job description, But what it truly helps is that I drink a lot of vitamin type drinks and no soda drinks and lots of sweating at work.
     
  12. Jun 27, 2013 #92 of 114
    BattleScott

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    While I acknowledge a certain rationality to that theory, I just don't think that is how it would play out in the end. Like smoking, the cure for obesity is free and available to all (that is in the larger context of the general obesity plague, not saying there aren't extreme cases where the person requires help or treatment). What medical coverage would do is just create a situation where the vast majority of people start getting treatment then go off, or cheat, etc. and put any lost weight back on (which they used to say was worse than staying stable to an extent).

    Our company offered free smoking cessation programs for many years among other carrots to try and get people to quit voluntarily, it wasn't until they were faced with paying higher premiums for their insurance that many of them finally quit (for good).

    My fear is that by labeling it a disease, it may become harder to continue the progress towards a real equitable cost distribution model. If faced with the threat of discrimination lawsuits, etc. Employers and insurers may decide it's easier just to go back to distributing the cost evenly.
     
  13. Jun 27, 2013 #93 of 114
    BattleScott

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    Well the services costs may go up, but the insurers profit comes from our premiums not what the providers charge.
    Insurers are more than willing to entice healthy behavior through reduced premiums. Their most profitable customer is one that never needs medical services.
     
  14. Jun 27, 2013 #94 of 114
    Laxguy

    Laxguy Honi Soit Qui Mal Y Pense.

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    Winters,...
    It occurred to me that with obesity now officially a disease, companies and insurers will be able to deny hiring or covering based on that. Painful for those affected, but it'd provide a real impetus for the individual to do something about it. The less obese our nation is, the fewer medical costs we'd be sharing.
     
  15. Jun 27, 2013 #95 of 114
    James Long

    James Long Ready for Uplink! Staff Member Super Moderator DBSTalk Club

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    Deny hiring based on a disease? Unless the disease would prevent the person from doing the type of work the job demands denying employment based on a disease would be troublesome.

    BTW: Where I work the annual "sensitivity training" includes a section on not making personal comments about people's obesity.
     
  16. Jun 27, 2013 #96 of 114
    Stewart Vernon

    Stewart Vernon Roving Reporter Staff Member Super Moderator DBSTalk Club

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    Except that isn't exactly how it works... They don't profit on a per-customer basis... Insurance companies take in all the premiums from all the members... then any money paid out to health-care providers comes from that pool of money.

    So... whether you are healthy or not... if enough people partake of health care that requires them to pay out a lot... then they will look to increase premiums to increase their income.

    You might get a temporary "deal" with a lower premium if you engage in activities that they deem healthy... but long-term, if they keep paying out claims then they will raise premiums. That's just how it works.
     
  17. Jun 28, 2013 #97 of 114
    SamC

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    You have made excellent points.

    And, remember that economics is the "dismal science". Fact is that you do, as you say, add everybody together and treat people as groups.

    And, most people's will cost more in health care during their final 18 months of life than they have for their whole lifetime up to that point. In fact, one reason that health care costs have gone up is that many diseases that formerly would have taken people earlier in life have been cured, leaving those people to live a long time and die after a much longer illness much later (not that that is a bad thing, on a moral basis, but we are talking the dismal science here). Fact is that if you check out of a heart attack or a stroke or a quick lung cancer, you cost your insurer a whole lot less than somebody who lingers in a nursing home with mega-interventional treatments for years. Bluntly, the idea that if everybody started living a "healthy lifestyle" it would cut insurance costs, is simply wrong.
     
  18. Jun 28, 2013 #98 of 114
    BattleScott

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    You left out the fact that if more people get healthy then they pay out less overall. That is the whole point in trying to encourage healthy behavior through reduced premiums and discourage bad with higher. It will only be a "temporary" deal if they are prevented from continuing that strategy. I have been working for almost 30 years now and that is the only thing that has actually created a real reduction in my and my company's premiums. Why? because it also reduces the insurers costs.

    Additionally, you are backwards on the cost raising part. The more healthy people there are, the more competition there is in the provider market, this is driving costs down in a lot of cases because the insurers are able to negotiate more favorable rates for the provider services.
     
  19. Jun 28, 2013 #99 of 114
    BattleScott

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    No, that is how it used to be done. Now the insurers are able to separate the individuals and adjust their behavior through rate plans.
    20 years ago, everyone in my company had the same plan options $x for single / $xx for family, that was it. Every year it went up and up. Now we have several options for plans and deductibles, with lower rates for non-tobacco users and next year we are scheduled to add premium adjustments for specific health metrics like cholesterol and such. I pay less now than I did 20 years ago.
     
  20. Stewart Vernon

    Stewart Vernon Roving Reporter Staff Member Super Moderator DBSTalk Club

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    That assumes real competition in the health-care market... but there really isn't any.

    Health-care isn't as optional as satellite TV, to use an example familiar with this forum :)

    IF enough of us decide to stop subscribing to pay-TV... the companies will have to lower prices or do something to entice us back... we could live without pay-tv moreso than the people who make money from it...

    BUT

    When you need health-care it isn't an option.

    I'm not talking about a checkup, which might be recommended but is very much optional... or lots of mild scrapes, bruises, and colds that people don't have to see a doctor to treat.

    I'm talking major stuff... IF you need a new ticker, you need a new ticker... your choices are: 1. New ticker, 2. Die. You can't "shop around" like you can for other products... you can't call various doctors and hospitals and look for the "best deal" or someone having a "special" on cardiac treatments... and you damn sure will not find a coupon for heart surgery!

    When you need major stuff, you need major stuff... they have you over a barrel. There is ZERO reason for them to be price-competitive, especially if you have insurance that will foot most of the bill so that you don't even care the cost...

    So... healthy people that lead to lower premiums leads to less money in the coffer for the insurance company... but it does nothing to lower the prices of actual medical care... so that when people (even the healthy ones) do eventually need something... the doctors and hospitals will be asking for more money to do those procedures... and the insurance companies will have less of it to spend... thus the insurance company will still be raising rates in the long run, even on the healthy.

    Consider this too... Doctor's offices and Hospitals are just about the only places where you will see "we are not accepting new patients at this time" scenarios... how many other capitalistic businesses turn away customers? The health-care industry eventually has virtually everyone as a customer... so in the short-term they even turn away business because they have so many customers!
     

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