We Paid For It: Weight Loss Surgery

Friday, February 22nd 2013, 10:55 pm
By: News 9

We all know it's not easy to lose weight. There are many programs and surgeries out there to help us shed pounds, but at a cost. What you probably didn't know is that we're paying for some Oklahomans to shed pounds.

Oklahoma's Medicaid program, called Soonercare, allows certain patients to undergo bariatric surgery on our dime.

In the last five years, nine Oklahomans have either had lap band or gastric bypass surgeries. The total price tag for just the surgeries: more than $85,000. That does not include pre-op and post-op care.

Soonercare patients must meet a long list of criteria before undergoing weight loss surgery, including their doctor must declare them obese for at least five years, they must have tried other ways to lose weight and have another health issue because of their weight. They also must shed 5 percent of their body weight before going under the knife.

While Soonercare is funded with tax dollars, 64 percent of the money comes from the federal government. The other 36 percent comes from state dollars.