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Stop Mississippi House Bill 330!

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If Mississippi House Bill 330 were to become law, obese (based on BMI) Medicaid patients who refuse to sign up for an online program to help lose weight will be penalized by increasing their co-pay. NAAFA, a civil rights organization working for Equality at Every Size, believes that this proposed law is discriminatory.

Targeting Medicaid recipients, made up of the poor and the elderly, forcing them to submit to programs that require foods that they may not be able to afford and penalizing them if they do not comply or cannot lose weight, is clearly inhumane. There is no other disease or condition that faces this kind of bias.

A 2010 Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report stated, “Even if there is no growth in the prevalence of obesity between now and 2020, per capita spending on health care for adults would rise by 65 percent—from $4,550 in 2007 to $7,500 in 2020 . . . largely as a result of the continuation of underlying trends in health care that have led to rapidly increasing spending for all adults regardless of weight.”1

For supersize individuals at the highest end of the weight spectrum who are disabled by their weight, protections under the ADA are now clear. The requirement that a supersize person who is disabled by their weight achieve a "normal"/target BMI to avoid a penalty would violate his/her rights, even if he/she might be able to do so via Herculean efforts.

Although it is understandable that the State of Mississippi wants to lower costs of health care, cost shifting cannot be based on a criteria that discriminates against those that are most vulnerable - those from lower socioeconomic strata - to pay for computer hardware and mandated diet programs.

We, the undersigned, urge Mississippi Representative Omeria Scott and Governor Phil Bryant to stop this bill before it becomes law.

1 - How Does Obesity in Adults Affect Spending on Health Care? [2010]; Congressional Budget Office; http://www.cbo.gov/publication/21772



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