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Taxpayers increasingly foot bill for bariatric surgery

The Texas Tribune, June 25, 2012

A Texas Tribune analysis of federal and state healthcare expenditures shows Medicare spending for weight-loss surgeries for Texas seniors—everything from gastric bypass to gastric banding—grew by nearly 400 percent between 2006 and 2010, from $340,000 to $1.7 million. Since 2009, the number of bariatric procedures covered by Medicaid, the state health provider for the disabled, children and the very poor, has more than doubled. And annual Medicaid spending has jumped from $290,000 to $2.7 million in the last three years, the bulk of which was supplemental payments made to managed care plans responding to the surge.