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Lap-Band Patient Petitions to Have Weight Loss Surgery Covered in NWT

SAT, Jun 8th 2013 (CBC News) —An N.W.T. MLA wants the territorial government to help pay for weight-loss surgeries for people struggling with obesity.

There are hundreds of people on waiting lists for bariatric surgeries across Canada.

All the provinces pay for some type of bariatric surgeries. Yukon covers them if physicians recommend it as part of a weight-loss program.

Northwest Territories and Nunavut are the only jurisdictions in Canada that don’t insure either gastric bypass or laparoscopic banding, though residents of Nunavut may be covered on a case-by-case basis.

Hay River North MLA Robert Bouchard wants that to change. He says the surgery helped him shed 200 pounds and save taxpayers thousands of dollars in medical costs.

Before the surgery, Bouchard weighed 400 pounds. He was diabetic and had high blood pressure, and his medications cost $800 a month.

“I had some friends come to me and say, ‘Robert, we’re concerned.’” He said.

“My knees and my ankles were hurting.”

For more on this story, click here.

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