Former Wisconsin governor wants Medicare to cover obesity medicines

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LANSING, Mich. (AP) -- Former U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson is urging Congress to pass year-old legislation requiring Medicare to cover obesity medicines for seniors.

The ex-Wisconsin governor was in Lansing Wednesday drawing attention to the obesity problem. Thompson says fitness and diet are important, but some overweight people also need medications because of genetics and metabolism.

He says if Medicare covers obesity treatments, long-term costs associated with chronic diseases will drop.

Eighteen percent of Michigan's population was obese in 1995. The rate reached 32 percent by 2010, and officials are warning half of the state's residents could be obese by 2030.

Michigan Department of Community Health Director James Haveman says Michigan is the "10th-fattest state" and urges residents to lose 10 percent of their weight.

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