CMS proposes cutting bariatric surgery to seniors

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Officials from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services this week proposed eliminating coverage of bariatric surgery for beneficiaries 65 and older due to health risks.

The agency also proposed expanding coverage for beneficiaries under 65. Currently, CMS covers bariatric surgery for Medicare beneficiaries of all ages but for only for conditions other than obesity.

A recent study in the Journal of the American Medical Association reported that seniors had two to three times higher death rates following the surgery compared to younger people.

There is a 30-day comment period on the proposal. It is available at: http://www.cms.hhs.gov/mcd/viewdraftdecisionmemo.asp?id=160.