South Carolina’s The State newspaper reports that the state Medicaid program will start paying physicians and dieticians to treat obesity among the state’s Medicaid population. The State’s article states, “The anti-obesity coverage would pay for up to six visits a year with a physician and six visits with a licensed dietitian, a nutrition specialist who has a five-year degree who also is registered with the state. State officials estimate about 86,000 people, or 60 percent of South Carolina’s obese Medicaid recipients, would participate.
If 60 percent do participate, officials estimate that the cost to the state’s Medicaid program would be an extra $10.5 million. Most of that money would come from the federal government. However, $3 million would come from state taxpayers.
The state’s Medicaid agency has requested the taxpayer money. But even if lawmakers reject that request – unlikely given the support of Haley and legislative Republicans and Democrats – the agency says it still will start the program by cutting other programs in its budget.