Medicare OKs Yoga for Heart Disease

Yoga is among the treatment protocols now covered by Medicare for patients with heart disease.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Lifestyle changes, such as plant-based diet, yoga, and meditation, have long been known to prevent heart disease, and now Medicare is covering a program that supports patients who want to make these changes for good.


The Dean Ornish Program for Heart Disease became an official intensive cardiac rehab program in 2010, and the first patients started in May 2011, according to a recent report by CNN.

In addition to nutrition, exercise, and stress-management, the program embraces community—helping patients to make connections with other people.

Ornish hopes that insurance companies will follow Medicare’s lead, and begin covering this type of treatment plan, too, so the general population can benefit. “The reason that I spent 16 years working with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to achieve Medicare coverage for our program is that I knew that most insurance companies follow Medicare’s lead. In other words, if Medicare covered our program, most other insurance companies would, as well,” Ornish told CNN.

It sounds like a step in the right direction. What do you think?