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Medicare to cover some obesity treatment

Friday, July 16, 2004 Posted: 11:09 AM EDT (1509 GMT)

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Medicare now recognizes obesity as an illness, a change in policy that may allow millions of overweight Americans to make medical claims for treatments such as stomach surgery and diet programs.

Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson said, "Obesity is a critical public health problem in our country that causes millions of Americans to suffer unnecessary health problems and to die prematurely."

Treating obesity-related illnesses results in billions of dollars in health care costs, Thompson said.

Article: http://www.cnn.com/2004/HEALTH/diet.fitness/07/16/medicare.obesity.ap/index.html