September 14th, 2009
06:00 PM ET

Should employer have to pay for employee's weight loss surgery?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

An Indiana pizza shop has to pay for weight loss surgery for a 340-pound employee. An appeals court upheld an earlier ruling that the employer must cover the surgery - which could cost as much as $25,000 - so that the man can have another surgery for a back injury he sustained while on the job.

The pizza shop had agreed to pay for the back surgery... but argued they shouldn't have to pay for the weight-loss operation because the man was already obese before he got injured.

But the court said the surgery should be covered because the man's weight and the accident combined to create a single injury.

And this isn't the first case of its kind...

Oregon's Supreme Court recently ruled that the state worker's compensation insurance had to pay for gastric bypass surgery in order for a man's knee replacement surgery to go smoothly.

In a nation where one-third of adults are obese, these cases could have a chilling effect on business. Employers could become wary of hiring fat people or those with other preexisting conditions that could make a workplace injury more likely.

Experts say although it's illegal for companies to refuse to hire an overweight person because of where they tip the scales, they could find other reasons not to hire them.

There were more than 220,000 obesity surgeries performed in the U.S. last year.

Here’s my question to you: Should an employer have to pay for an employee's weight loss surgery?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Health • Health care • Obesity
September 14th, 2009
05:00 PM ET

Is it really health care reform without 'public option'?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

If health care reform happens - and it this point, that's still a pretty big "if" - it's looking less likely that a so-called "public option" will be a part of it.

Senator Olympia Snowe - about the only Republican working with the White House on this - says there's "no way" that a plan that includes a public option can pass the Senate. Snowe says that President Obama should drop the idea of a government-backed insurance program in order to get more backing from Republicans:

"I've urged the president to take the public option off the table. It's universally opposed by Republicans."

Two other top senators, one Democrat and one Republican, say that the House version of the health care bill - the one that includes the public option - is dead; and the only chance for reform lies with a compromise bill still being hammered out in the Senate.

Meanwhile some Democrats and the White House are trying to downplay the importance of the public option - saying it's not a deal breaker and that it's just one way to reach the president's goal of covering an estimated 46-million uninsured Americans. Democrats are saying things like "That's a small part of this," or "there's more than one way to skin that cat."

But the fact of the matter is a lot of people insist that without a public option to compete with private insurers, health care reform is meaningless. The president says he still backs a public plan - but that he's also open to other ways to create more competition.

Here’s my question to you: Is it health care reform without a "public option"?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Health care
September 14th, 2009
04:00 PM ET

Tens of thousands protest Pres. Obama's policies in DC


Protesters march and hold signs during the Tea Party Express rally on Saturday in Washington, DC. Thousands marched to Capitol Hill to protest high spending, higher taxes and the growth of the federal government.(PHOTO CREDIT: Brendan Smialowski/GETTY IMAGES)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Tens of thousands of protesters marched on Washington Saturday - in the largest demonstration against Pres. Obama since he took office. The march leading to the Capitol was loud and animated and stretched on for blocks.

It seemed like the culmination of what started out as Tea Parties in the spring against the president's economic stimulus package - and turned into health care protests over the summer.

These protesters have managed to give a voice to an opposition - something that Republicans have been trying mostly unsuccessfully to do.

The crowd was protesting a whole range of things - there were opponents of Mr. Obama's tax, spending and health care plans, as well as those who are concerned about the government's possible encroachment on their right to bear arms.

There were accusations of socialism and shouts of "liar." Protests like this also attract the lunatic fringe - who questioned the president's citizenship, compared his administration to Nazi Germany and even those who likened the president himself to an African witch doctor.

The White House says the protesters are "wrong" about health care and that the president does not think the protests and the growing conservative movement against him are motivated by racism.

Whatever the cause it's worth noting that tens of thousands of people gave up their Saturday to march on Washington, D.C. against a man who has only been in office eight months.

Here’s my question to you: What message do tens of thousands of protesters marching on Washington send to Pres. Obama?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: President Barack Obama