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8TuesdayMarch52013EQUIPMENTRENTALINDUSTRIALSUPPLYATrueNorthernCompany103KamLakeRoadYellowknifeNTPh867766-6025Fax867873-4871HealthdepartmentlooksintoinsuringweightlosssurgeryforobesepeopleintheNWTHealthWellnessWeightLossByMEAGANWOHLBERGTheNWTdepartmentofHealthandSocialServicescouldsoonbehelpingnanceweightlosssurgeriesforpeoplewithweightproblemsanddia-betesamovepushedbysev-eralMLAsduringlegislativesessionlastweek.FrameLakeMLAWendyBisarobroughttheissuetothetableonMondaymorningaskingtheministertocon-siderinsuringsuchmedicalproceduresasacost-savingmeasuretothedepartmentinthelongrun.TheNWThasanumberofchronicdiseaseswhichplagueourterritory.OneofthemisdiabetesshesaidnotingthatonthewholeNWTresidentsareoverweightcomparedtotherestofCanadaandthattheonlyviablesolutionforsomeisbariatricsurgerywhichisnotcurrentlyaninsuredser-viceforNWTresidents.Bariatricsurgeryincludesavarietyofproceduresfromreducingthesizeofthestom-achwithagastricbandtore-movalofaportionofthestom-achorbyre-routingthesmallintestinestoasmallstomachpouchalsoknownasgastricbypasssurgery.Studieshaveshownthat83percentofpatientsarecuredoftheirdiabetesafterbariat-ricsurgeryBisarosaid.Itmaycostourhealthsystemabitmoreforsurgeryinthebe-ginningthanjusttreatingthesystemssicofobesitybutinthelongrunourcostsaresignicantlyreducedandthequalityoflifeforthepatientverymuchimproved.Shesaidpatientsshouldatleasthavetheirfollow-upproceduresandconsultationspaidforeveniftheypayforthesurgeryontheirown.HealthMinisterTomBeau-lieusaidthedepartmentislookingataddingbariatricsur-geryalongwithothermedi-calservicesthatcouldaddressobesitytoitsinsuredservices.Wethinkthatisoneoftheemergingissuesinthewholeissueofchronicdiseasemanagementand...werehop-ingthatoncethecommitteeisabletodiscussthisthatchangescanbemadeinthesys-temanditcanbecomepartoftheinsuredserviceshesaid.Thoughtheministerhasau-thoritytoadddeleteoramendinsuredservicesBeaulieusaidacommitteeputtogetherinMay2012withtheNWTMed-icalAssociationiscurrentlyintheprocessofdevelopingtermsofreferenceformak-ingthosechangeswithintheactsregulations.Oncethedeterminationhasbeenmadethatwewilladdthisbariatriccareorobesityorthewholeareaofoverweight-nesstotheinsuredservices...thenwewillmakeadecisiononwhenandhowwewillgothroughtheprocessBeau-lieusaid.Partoftheprocesswouldbeifaninsuredserviceisaddedthenitwillbemorecost.OncethatdeterminationismadebytheMedicalAs-sociationandbythedepart-mentthatbariatricserviceswillbeaddedthenwewillcomebacktotheHouseformoremoneytocarryoutthatservicethroughtheregularbusinessplanningprocess.Hewasunabletogiveatimelineonwhenthosechangesmightbemade.Howeverlongittakesforustoaddthisandgetthisap-provedthroughthebusinessplanningprocessconsider-ingalltheotherpressuresonthesystemthenwewillhaveabetterideaofwhenthiscanbeapprovedhesaid.Itmaybeinthenextbusinesscycle.Ifitsinthenextbusinesscycleitwillbeayearfromnow.Gastricbypassandlapbandsurgeryaretheonlytwobar-iatricprocedurescoveredbyinsuranceinCanada.BotharecoveredbyAlbertaManitobaNewBrunswickNovaSco-tiaPrinceEdwardIslandandQuebecwhileSaskatchewanOntarioNewfoundlandandBritishColumbiaonlyinsuregastricbypasssurgery.TheaveragewaittimeforweightlosssurgeryinCan-adaisveyearsaccordingtoaMcGillUniversityHealthCentrestudy.Studieshaveshownthat83percentofpa-tientsarecuredoftheirdiabetesafterbar-iatricsurgery.FrameLakeMLAWendyBisaroYellowknifeMLAwantsgaspricesregulatedByRENEFRANCOEUROneYellowknifeMLAismakingithismissiontostopthetrendofNortherngaspricesremainingatsteadyhighswhilepricesdropacrossthecountry.RobertHawkinswantstoseeastandardformulausedtocalculategaspricesandamaximumratesetbythegov-ernmenttoimprovetranspar-encyandfairnessforNorthernconsumersinthefuelindustry.HawkinsbroughtforthamotionlastThursdaycallingforthegovernmenttoconsiderregulatingNWTgaspricessimilartosystemsalreadyinplaceinNewBrunswickandPrinceEdwardIsland.TheNewBrunswickEn-ergyandUtilitiesBoardanindependentcrownagencyes-tablishedbytheLegislaturesetsamaximumgaspricetoregulatetheelectricitynaturalgasandmotorcarrierindus-triesintheprovince.Hawkinsmotionwassec-ondedbyNahendehMLAKevinMenicoche.Itwascar-riedintheHousewithninemembersinfavourandnineabstaining.MymotionboilsdowntothefactweneedtoinvestigateandresearchtheprosandconsoftheregulationoffuelpricesintheNWTHawkinstoldTheJournal.InmarketcommunitiessuchasYellow-knifeHayRiverNormanWellspricesuxwiththeworldmarketbutIhaveyettoseethemactuallymovedownwiththerestofthemarket.ForexamplewhenpricesdropinEdmontontheygenerallyremainsolidinNWT.Thatsanissue.Hawkinspointedoutthatgovernment-controlledregu-lationisnothisfavouriteop-tionbutatthesametimewehavetobedoingsome-thingratherthannothing.ConsumersarebeingheldhostagebythegaspricinggameintheNorthhesaid.Theresnowindowfortheconsumertocomplainanditsalmostuselessforthemtodosobecausethereisnoteethinanythingtosupporttheirconcernnorulingbodytoinvestigatetheirconcernanddealwithit.SixteencommunitiesarealreadyregulatinggaspricesthroughtheNWTsPetroleumProductsDivisiontoacertainextentHawkinsadded.TheseincludeareaslikeLutselKewheregashasbeensetat1.73atthelocalCo-OpsinceOctober.Itchangesonceayearwhenthenewsupplyisbroughtin.Idontblamethelocalon-the-groundvendor...Theyrejustdoingtheirjob.TheydontsetthosepricesbecausethepeoplewhodosetthosepricesliveinTorontoNewYorkorHouston...ThefactistheyhavenovestedinterestinwhatitslikeforthecostoflivinghereintheNorthHawkinstoldtheHouse.MackenzieDeltaMLAFrederickBlakesupportedthemotionnotingconstitu-entswouldliketopaythesamepricesaspeopleinthesouthernpartoftheterri-tory.Myresidentspayany-wherefrom1.65perlitreinFortMcPhersonto1.80inTsiigehtchic.AttheendofJanuarywhengaspricesplummetedto1.129therateinYellowknifeheldsteadyaround1.30.LastweekpricesintheNWTwereonaverage1.389accordingtoGasbuddy.com.TheCanadianaveragewas1.29.IndustryOilGas