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?

Bea writes:
Absolutely not! So, the law says you have to hire the fat guy, but then you get penalized when he needs surgery for an accident for which his obesity was very possibly a contributing factor. At what point did Americans stop taking responsibility for themselves and when did judges lose their ability to use common sense?

Ralph writes:
The pizzeria should not have to pay for this surgery. If this goes through, employers are going to take more caution when hiring employees and this will lead to discrimination issues. It is the employee's problem that he is obese, whether he is to blame for it or not.

Barrie writes:
Wouldn't this question be moot if there were a decent health care system which covered everybody with no preconditions? If there was ever an argument for health insurance reform, this is it.

Ed from Montana writes:
OK, let's go with the employer has to pay for weight loss surgery because you are overweight. Then we can have them also pay for school because you're ignorant, give you a trust fund because you are poor, hair because you are bald, plastic surgery because you are ugly? Give me a break. At what point do we say a person is responsible for themselves?

Lou writes:
Overweight people already face a lot of rejections when looking for a job. This won't help. If this case is successful, no one in their right mind would hire an obese person again.

John writes:
I’m 65-lbs. overweight because of overeating and being lazy. We need to be more responsible for ourselves and take better care and exercise. People want to take the easy way out with surgery. We need to get off our lazy butts and diet and exercise. It’s a win-win for all of us. My weight loss begins today!

Darren from Fairbanks, Alaska writes:
I work the door at a strip club, and I think my boss should pay for my surgery for eye strain. Do you think I have a case?

Filed under: Health • Health care • Obesity
soundoff (250 Responses)
  1. Ray in Nashville

    Jack, I veer to the right on this issue. No, employers should not have to pay for weight loss surgery for any employee. Employers did not make them fat.

    September 14, 2009 at 1:19 pm |
  2. Kevin in Dallas, TX

    I don't know about that, but if an employer gives an employee a job that is detrimental to their health, such as a sedentary job, then the employer should provide a way to undo that harm, such as a gym membership.

    September 14, 2009 at 1:23 pm |
  3. Tammy Wright

    no employers shouldn't have to. they could be spending that money on raises or giving things to all employees. one word for people EXERCISE!

    September 14, 2009 at 1:26 pm |
  4. Bill, Quarryville, Pennsylvania

    Jack I think the employers insurance should have to pay for weight loss surgery. Especially if being overweight is threatening their health and everything else has been tried. I assume you never had a weight problem. I never did either until I lost my job after working for 30 years. I was a machinist all my life and had two bad knees, a heart condition, and chronic back pain. With all these ailments I could not find work. I became depressed and used food like a drug attic would use drugs to make them feel better. If weight surgery along with counseling before and after the surgery helps them to feel better about themselves and become more healthy, it should be available to them.

    September 14, 2009 at 1:36 pm |
  5. Paul Round Rock, Texas

    Only unless it is to save someone's life. In most cases it is just done so someone can just look better quicker with less work by the individual so in 99% of the cases I would say no.

    September 14, 2009 at 1:39 pm |
  6. Jayne

    The employer buys the insurance coverage and if bariatric surgery is covered, of course. If it's not covered by the insurance policy then the employee is on the hook for it. It depends on the contract among the employer, the employee and the insurer.

    September 14, 2009 at 1:42 pm |
  7. Dave, Brooklyn, NY

    No! It is not the employer’s fault or problem if employees sit on their sofas in front of the TV with a king sized bag of potato chips stuffing themselves like pigs and have no self control and refuse to do any serious exercise. The employer probably had to hire them or risk a discrimination lawsuit. But it is the employee’s own actions that cause this and they should have to solve their own personal problems on their own dime. I say that as one who is fighting my own weight problem, but I am fighting it.

    September 14, 2009 at 1:46 pm |
  8. Chuck in warren, Ohio

    Jack: NO.

    September 14, 2009 at 1:52 pm |
  9. Doug - Dallas, TX

    Only if they paid for the food that made them fat. A shorter answer would be NO!

    September 14, 2009 at 1:54 pm |
  10. John from Alabama

    Jack: Surgery is surgery regardless the type of surgery. Overweight people miss more work for problems due to obesity. More medicines are prescripted for individuals overweight than those whose weight is normal. Employers should help those wishing to be more healthy. A preventive health care system is better than a curative health system.

    September 14, 2009 at 1:56 pm |
  11. pat in lexington, Ky.

    NO. The employer is not responsible for the person's weight gain and should not be legally responsible for paying for that surgery.

    September 14, 2009 at 1:59 pm |
  12. Lynne Parker, North Augusta, SC

    Are employers required to pay for alcohol/drug addiction treatment? If so, yes. If not, no. It's all addictive behavior.

    September 14, 2009 at 2:01 pm |
  13. Russ in PA

    What? Can't anyone in this country pay their own way on anything any more?

    September 14, 2009 at 2:01 pm |
  14. David of Alexandria VA

    Only if the employer caused the obesity - maybe like a taster at McD's test kitchens or a QA guy at Coors.

    September 14, 2009 at 2:03 pm |
  15. Joe CE

    No employeers shoulfd have to contribute something toward employee heath insurance – insurance picked by the employee.

    September 14, 2009 at 2:04 pm |
  16. Donna Colorado Springs,Co

    Absolutely not! It is the employees responsibility to lose weight if it is necessary, and their boss should not have to foot the bill.

    September 14, 2009 at 2:05 pm |
  17. Jackie in Dallas

    Tricky question, Jack. On the surface, these are an optional procedures.

    However, under limited circumstances, it might actually be in the best interest to pay them. Certainly, it beats paying out a life insurance policy, or long-term health care for medical problems not directly related to the weight problem. And there are cases where it is not a weight issue due to poor self control or unhealthy habits, but a medical condition. There should be no question in those cases. But the chronically obese whose problems stem from bad habits need a combination of therapy and weight reduction. And part of the problem is that mental health options in a lot of policies have gone away.

    September 14, 2009 at 2:05 pm |
  18. Melissa

    No, the insurance company should.

    September 14, 2009 at 2:06 pm |
  19. S, Michigan

    Heck no! If an employee went to town on cheeseburgers and fries, that's his/her decision and they need to own up to it's consequences and get their behind off the couch and exercise some, not make employers pay for some surgery thereby adding cost to the employer who will then be forced to potentially lay off other workers, some of whom watched their diets and health! Maybe, the employer should pay for keeping weights to AMA levels- it's time we rewarded good behaviors in America and stopped coddling bad behaviors and passing the buck on.

    September 14, 2009 at 2:09 pm |
  20. Jake Johannsen

    Absolutely not ! Where in the world has our moral compass gone? We should work, pay our own way, pull outselves up by our own bootstraps and stop acting like children.
    The Derpession Generation and our generation had more class, and decency than to ask others to pay our way.
    We do want to help those who are disabled and truly poor however.
    Jake J

    September 14, 2009 at 2:09 pm |
  21. Dana

    Why would an employer pay for an employee's weight loss surgery? Did the employer cause the employee to be fat? I believe it is about time for people to take some responsibility for their actions. Why only the overweight people should get special treatment? It is not fair to the rest of the employees.

    September 14, 2009 at 2:11 pm |
  22. Mike from Denver

    The answer is simple; it is elective surgery if it is elective obesity.

    September 14, 2009 at 2:12 pm |
  23. SF Retired

    Under the equal opportunity legislations, an employer cannot descriminate based on appearance/weight. To do so is to risk a law suit.

    Maybe the question is will the corporation benefit if it provides weight loss surgery through its insurance?

    My daughter was a temp at Nissan 10 years ago. They hired her on permanantly when a position opened within a year. She's always been obese and they are offering this as a new health care incentive. They must value their employees (and have shown that in many ways over the years).

    September 14, 2009 at 2:13 pm |
  24. erinmontague

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

    Heck no! That employee was unhealthy to begin with. The best way they could have helped him is to cut down on his pizza allotment. Hand to mouth control. Criminey.

    Northern CA

    September 14, 2009 at 2:16 pm |
  25. Bob

    The few people I know who underwent this procedure gained the lost weight in a couple of years.

    Before the procedure is covered by insurance of any kind there should be some statistical proof that it actually works.

    September 14, 2009 at 2:19 pm |
  26. Pete - Augusta Ga

    Jack –

    Are you kidding? Whats next – pay for couple of weeks at Betty Ford so I won't drink any more?

    September 14, 2009 at 2:30 pm |
  27. Rich McKinney, Texas

    No. According to the Americans with disabilities act an employer can not be mandated to pay for weight loss surgery.

    MYTH: The ADA protects people who are overweight.

    FACT: Just being overweight is not enough. Modifications in
    policies only must be made if they are _reasonable_ and do not
    fundamentally alter the nature of the program or service
    provided. The Department has received only a handful of
    complaints about obesity.

    September 14, 2009 at 2:30 pm |
  28. Kim Smith, Dodge City, Kansas

    Should an employer also have to pay for plastic surgery if the employee is ugly? Too bad there aren't injections to cure the lack of common sense in America.

    September 14, 2009 at 2:33 pm |
  29. JWC in Atlanta

    The employer will pass all costs to the ultimate buyer of that employer's product. Therefore YOU and I will pay to keep Mr. and Mrs. No-Discipline Porkchop from gorging themselves into ill health.

    September 14, 2009 at 2:35 pm |
  30. Jerry Alpharetta. GA

    Yes. Once an employer hires an individual and has health care as a listed benefit, the employer should be accountable for the health care cost that are within the defined benefit program. The decision to hire was made by the employer and the employee accepted based upon the offer made by the employer. It may now be un-American but the employer should step up and be accountable for its decisions.

    September 14, 2009 at 2:48 pm |
  31. Larry from Georgetown, Texas

    Why not, they pay for people to go to treatment for drug addiction up to 60 days at $1000+ per day and the rate of success is very low.

    September 14, 2009 at 2:50 pm |
  32. Tom, Switzerland

    Only if the employer is already paying for the employee's medicinal marijuana, and thus carries some of the responsibility of the employee's excessive munchies.

    September 14, 2009 at 2:50 pm |
  33. Angelique, AL

    Yes. I am at this moment facing vascular surgery, for which my employer's insurance will pay. It will NOT pay for the bariatric surgery that could have avoided this. My condition has been caused by an ongoing weight problem since my early 20s when my thyroid was removed. I have never been able to control it, despite years with counselors, diet programs, and bariatric doctors. I was told years ago that bariatric surgery was my only real hope. The insurance turned it down.

    September 14, 2009 at 2:52 pm |
  34. Christian Jones

    Yes, they want to lose the weight and most American cannot afford the surgery.

    September 14, 2009 at 2:53 pm |
  35. Diane/Allentown PA

    Not if they reimburse their employees for a gym membership they shouldn't!

    Gym memberships are cheaper........

    September 14, 2009 at 2:54 pm |
  36. Mickey Gensler Bronx, 10471,N.Y.

    I do not think an employer should pay for any elective or cosmetic surgery.I do think he should pay for any surgery that a doctor deems is necessary for the employees survival and well being so that employee can function well. No stomach tucks, no nose jobs, no wrinkle removals. etc.

    September 14, 2009 at 2:56 pm |
  37. Bob B Orlando, Florida

    No and they should not pay for breast enhancement surgery either. These are elective surgeries. Even though someone may be so obese they may require it to improve their health.

    September 14, 2009 at 2:56 pm |
  38. Ed from California

    If we don't get the Medical Insurance premiums down to some manageable levels and soon. Our employers probably won't cover the costs of medical insurance, period.
    To answer the question, no, the employer shouldn't have to pay for a chubby reduction. Unless, you are the candy sampler at SEE's candy, or the pizza taster at Round Table. But, wouldn't that fall under a Workman's Comp injury?

    September 14, 2009 at 3:01 pm |
  39. Jeff in Glen Carbon IL

    Do you mean within their group Insurance plan? Many do, now, and because the insurer finds it cost justified in certain cases. I know, it is only forced restrant, as once the procedure is done, failure to tow the line will kill you. I couldn't do it when I know all I have to do is "stick to the plan." I lost forty pounds in 40 days voluntarily at the same time my sister did the same thing via this surgery. [She also lost another 30]The theory is that it will prevent her from being a tremendous cost to the health system in the future. So, YES, if the insurance plan can justify it.

    September 14, 2009 at 3:02 pm |
  40. chris

    nope cause the business did not make them fat it was themselves that did it

    September 14, 2009 at 3:02 pm |
  41. Susan in Ohio

    Absolutely not! Just like the phrase "You break it, you buy it," well, "You ate it, you pay for it!"

    September 14, 2009 at 3:03 pm |
  42. Vivian Fauntleroy, Largo MD

    If an employee gets lung cancer after years of smoking, the employer pays for treatment; If an employee leaves the holiday party, gets in a wreck and is injured, the employer pays the resultant medical bills. So, if medical science is to be believed about the dangers of excess weight, should an overweight employee elect to undergo surgery to reduce the risks of delevoping serious illnesses later on, the employer might want to consider standing at the OR door with check in hand 'cause I'll bet you that the surgery will be cheaper in the long room than all of the illnesses prolonged overweight can visit upon an employee. And Jack, fighting obesity is hellacious enough without you and like-minded souls constantly making like overweight people are the worst of the worst.

    September 14, 2009 at 3:04 pm |
  43. Sandra in Temecula

    NO – people need to take responsibility for their own actions.

    September 14, 2009 at 3:16 pm |
  44. Jenna

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

    The case in point here Jack is that the employee was injured on the job and his weight was going to be a factor in his recovery.

    Employers pay for alcohol and drug dependency programs, employers pay for smoking programs, even mental health, why wouldn't they pay for this..

    Just more discrimination against those living large..

    Roseville CA

    September 14, 2009 at 3:16 pm |
  45. David Gerstenfeld

    Just add it to the list of what's WRONG with health care. Being obese is not a preexisting condition.
    David, Las Vegas

    September 14, 2009 at 3:16 pm |
  46. Karen, Idaho Falls, Idaho

    Obesity is considered one of the worst health problems in America–to the extent that it is considered a disability. If an employee is willing to undergo the procedure, the employer's health plan should certainly cover it.

    September 14, 2009 at 3:23 pm |
  47. John R. Higgins, Jr.

    An employer might as well pay for an employee's weight loss surgery. The employer will either pay for the surgery now or some health problem due to over weight down the road. That's not taking into account the cost for sick leave benefits and the additional cost for replacing the employee. It's like the old Midas commercial. "You can pay me now, or you can pay me later". John R. Higgins, Jr., East Liverpool, Ohio

    September 14, 2009 at 3:25 pm |
  48. Kerry Diehl

    Sure, why not??? Along with face lifts, tummy tucks, boob jobs and the rest of it.

    After all, if people didn't have to work for those dreadful "Capitalistic" companies, they wouldn't have the problems that caused the obesity, aging or sagging chests in the first place.

    What kind of a nation have we become???

    September 14, 2009 at 3:26 pm |
  49. Keith - Twinsburg, Ohio

    This day and age Jack, it's all about entitlements and little accountability... If you can find someone else to blame or pay your way, why not...

    For years, parents have been teaching their children to take responsibility for their own actions... Now, what is our government telling us?

    There are soooo many things wrong Jack; where do we start??

    September 14, 2009 at 3:32 pm |
  50. Jay in Texas

    No, an employer should not have to pay for an employee's weight loss surgery. Employers should make it mandatory that employees either stay in shape or loose their jobs.
    Brownwood, Texas

    September 14, 2009 at 3:32 pm |
  51. Terry King

    Everything has to be on a case by case basis. Sorry this isn't a funny answer. Being fat isn't funny either.

    September 14, 2009 at 3:32 pm |
  52. Chris in Philadelphia

    Did employers pay for the food employee ate or demand they supersize the McDonalds orders for years? I doubt it. People make their own bed and should deal with its consequences.

    September 14, 2009 at 3:35 pm |
  53. Tina Tx

    If it is part of their insurance plan then yes, if not no.

    September 14, 2009 at 3:35 pm |
  54. Alex in Seattle

    I say no, Jack. I'm glad that the employer took responsibility for the job-related injury, but the employee should take responsibility for being obese.

    September 14, 2009 at 3:35 pm |
  55. Joe from MO

    Certainly if they also have to pay for lung cancer surgery for employees who smoke.

    September 14, 2009 at 3:37 pm |
  56. Lucy

    While I actually do understand the rationale for the companies having to pay for the surgeries in the Indiana & Oregon cases, it does signify something that could turn into a scary trend. Generally speaking, no, I don't think an employer should have to pay for an employee's weight loss surgery. Can we just even take all this money that is being spent on these 220,000 obesity surgeries and fund a program that teaches people how to diet and eat right? Even a health promotion program, say replacing a McDonald's ad? Do you see what I'm getting at?
    SF, CA

    September 14, 2009 at 3:37 pm |
  57. Amber - Austin, TX

    At my old job, there were 3 people who had gastric bypass...all paid for by our insurance. In each case, not only did they lie to doctors, and the insurance company to GET the surgery, but didn't change their behavior at all, and ended up gaining most of the weight back that they had lost after surgery.

    The consequence: wasted money, increased premiums, and no one was healthier for the price.

    So no Jack. I don't think that an employer should have to bear the burden of weight loss surgery. In fact, I don't feel that ANY insurance should cover weight loss surgery.

    September 14, 2009 at 3:43 pm |
  58. Willow, Iowa

    I've been working my entire adult life, and I am overweight, so heck, who can I sue? Oh, my back, my back, my back.

    If he went to McDs every day for lunch, shouldn't they pay for part of it too? What about the local Mexican restaurant. Everybody knows you cannot eat pizza every day.

    September 14, 2009 at 3:44 pm |
  59. Ray from Lake Charles, La.

    Absolutely not! What happen to personal responsibilty in this country?

    September 14, 2009 at 3:47 pm |
  60. lou

    Overweight people already face a lot of rejections when looking for a job. This won't help If this case is successful, no one in their right mind would hire an obese person again.

    September 14, 2009 at 3:48 pm |
  61. Roy

    If they do, I'm applying for a job at Dunkin Donuts.

    Port Aransas, TX

    September 14, 2009 at 3:48 pm |
  62. Pablo in Arlington Texas

    you're joking, right? Seriously, as a general rule for every case, the answer probably would be NOT ON YOUR NELLIE!
    However, as the son, brother, and uncle of Lawyers I can tell you that each case is different and so too are the laws which vary widely from state to state. Apparently in Oregan, which is just an O shy of oregano, the law is drawn very broadly. In Texas, Pizza Boy would be outta luck!

    Arlington Texas

    September 14, 2009 at 3:48 pm |
  63. Dan, Chantilly VA

    This is a sticky situation. Of course it seems silly for a company to have to pay for weight-loss surgery if you look at it from a common sense perspective, but from a legal perspective, I think the courts made the correct decision. Either way, I think we need some changes to work-related injury law. Trying to work this out so that companies aren't getting fleeced and employees aren't being discriminated against is going to be a tough problem.

    September 14, 2009 at 3:48 pm |
  64. honestjohn in Vermont

    Only if the company force fed the guy all that junk food.

    September 14, 2009 at 3:50 pm |
  65. Bev

    No Jack, not unless the pizza shop pays in pizas instead of money. Medical issues aside, people realldy need to step up and take control of their own health.

    September 14, 2009 at 3:50 pm |
  66. Lucy

    The company should DEFINITELY have to pay for it if the employee became obese because he received free pizza as compensation or something. As it stands right now, gray area.

    September 14, 2009 at 3:52 pm |
  67. Jim S

    Jack, no unless they choose to. First of all, any business has a choice whether or not to hire a morbidly obese person and if they choose to, then I think they know what they're in for. However, if they cover that person with health insurance, and they meet the requirements for coverage, then I think the health insurance company should be liable.

    September 14, 2009 at 3:54 pm |
  68. Mari, Salt Lake City, Utah

    No, Jack, if you are morbidly obese that's your responsibility.

    September 14, 2009 at 3:55 pm |
  69. Ryan - Galesburg, IL

    Let's ask the Republican lawmakers who have been fighing against iniatives for healthy living. Again, these are people whom no one want to insure, and soon employ, while nutritional counselling could save billions in medical need.

    No employer should have to shoulder such a burden.

    September 14, 2009 at 3:55 pm |
  70. Jerry Jacksonville, Fl.

    Hell no, it would be cheaper to lay them off and only let them come back to work when they have reached the proper weight. Weight loss surgery only works if the people will quit stuffing their mouths with both hands. Food is like cigarettes they are both hard to control, but you can do it if the desire to do so is there, I smoked for over forty years and it only took my little three year old grandson telling me that cigarettes were bad for me, I quit that day and haven't touched one since. His concern for me was a lot greater then my need for a cigarette.

    September 14, 2009 at 4:02 pm |
  71. Frank Fairview, Texas

    No I don't think so. People need to take responsibility for themselves and that includes diet and exercise. If it could be proven that the employer caused the employee to become obese then they might have a case. Being overweight is self induced and no employer should have to be responsible for irresponsible people.

    September 14, 2009 at 4:03 pm |
  72. STAN - IL.

    They hired him and evidently he did his job before he fell in their workplace. I guess he could sue them, which would they rather pay? A lot of times an overweight person out works the skinny girls that are worried about breaking a nail or how their hair looks or lolly gagging all over the men.

    September 14, 2009 at 4:06 pm |
  73. Jay

    Hell no! Why in America is 'being fat' a sympathetic conditiion, yet all other vices are personal responsibilty issues? I wouldn't expect an employer to pay for my lung transplant because I smoke too much, or shell out for my new liver because I drink like a fish. You don't get to be almost 400 lbs. unless you are using cupcakes for breathmints. These people should take responsibility for their poor life choices, and no boss should have to spend a dime. Hit the gym, tubby.

    September 14, 2009 at 4:07 pm |
  74. frankie

    This is the kind of reason why we have to start, right away, fixing our educational system and medical care system. Bypass surgery and tort reform are about fixing problems we should be learning how to prevent in the first place. And a healthier, better-educated population would have lower medical costs, be more competitive in the world marketplace ......... etc.

    September 14, 2009 at 4:09 pm |
  75. Stephanie-Jersey City, NJ

    OMG...I don't know. Lets see... let them stay over weight and cost the companies more in the long run. I say yes. This could cut down on so many problems in the future. If you watch the biggest loser you see just how much healther people are if they lose weight.

    September 14, 2009 at 4:10 pm |
  76. Adam Simi Valley, CA

    This is another classic case of someone not being responsible for their own well being and thinking that someone else owes them because of a condition that is self-inflicted. What's worse is the system rewards these people. Fat people have no protection under the law and if employers want to, they can fire them for being fat. Obesity is like alcohalism, it's an addiction that is technically legal, but it creates a risk for the hiring company that may not be economically justifiable. We have created a culture where if everything is great then it is because you deserve it, but if things do not, then it must be someone else's fault. Be it weight, credit card debt, home mortgages, whatever, the person in the most control of the situation usually claim they are a victim before looking in the mirror.

    September 14, 2009 at 4:11 pm |
  77. Agnes from Scottsdale, AZ

    JacK: Small (and large) business owners need to understand what various employee benefit programs cover or do not cover. In this case, the owner should have provided a less costly medical benefit program if they were going to cherry pick which procedures apply or do not apply. Owners should buy medical policies that they understand. They should also understand the scope of their state worker's compensation. Some small business owners see themselves as masters of the universe. Get real guys – read your policies and understand your state's employment laws!! No pity!

    September 14, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  78. Frank from Peterborough

    If the United States could manage to drag itself into the 21st Century and join all the other modern societies in the Industrialized world this would be redundant question as all the medical bills would be paid for by that dreaded socialist program called universal health care.

    September 14, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  79. Darren

    NO! Then employers will be discriminating their employees by their weight and I believe that's still against the law.

    September 14, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  80. AndyZ Lynn, MA

    If it can be proven that the condition is hereditary, then yes. If it is a "self inflicted wound," then I don't see why anyone but the overweight person should pay. Having the employer pay opens a can of worms; what about smokers? diabetics? alchoholics? and on and on.

    September 14, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  81. James In Idaho

    Jack, In all honesty, I once dated a girl that went to OA meetings [that's Overeaters Annonymous for those who dont' know it], and while many of them truly can't help it, I have no doubt she would say the ruling is just absurd.

    The company is only liable for it's part in the injury, not that of the overweight employee's part of being overweight, EVEN IF the employee gained weight while on the job. What's the employee saying? That the company shoveled lbs. of bad food down their throat by force? Come on! take some personal responsibility here people.

    September 14, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  82. Rob in NC

    If the employee was "large" before they started the job then I would have to say no. Even if they got larger, the employer does not (cannot) make them eat!! If they are injured on the job, that is one thing but to make the employer pay for their lipo is just wrong. Rob in NC

    September 14, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  83. Doris/St Louis

    Obesity is a predatory disease, meaning that obesity causes multiple trauma and disease, surgery to ease it's effect should be apart of every healthcare plan.

    September 14, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  84. David in Raleigh, NC

    The employer should not have to pay for elective surgery.

    The employer should only have to pay for medical procedures required by the job.

    September 14, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  85. Don (NH)

    Why should an employer have to pay for any surgery? I thought it was the insurance that pays for the surgery. Transferring medical expenses to an employer justifies reform. Am I the only one that can see that?

    September 14, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  86. Curly

    Just one simple word "No".

    Curly – Wisconsin

    September 14, 2009 at 4:24 pm |
  87. Diane Dagenais Turbide

    No! This shows how the system is sick! Employers provide healthcare insurance plan, period! They should not be more involved in paying for any specific extra costs! This shows how the system has been created to have healthcare industry costs distributed to the many and the savings and profits to the few! See how there is a major need for balance...to get people healthier as well as get the country fiscally healthier! How can I say this...we pay too much for everything...period! That is how this crisis happened in the first place...all the prices were raised to a level unsustainable from greed!

    September 14, 2009 at 4:24 pm |
  88. Lance Rio Vista Ca

    Jack- At first glance it's CRAZY!!!!

    But when you look at the injuries, sicknesses and attitudes of a HEALTHY proud-of-themselves person, you get 1000% return on ANY weight-loss program that a company would back and encourage! PLUS- you get employee LOYALTY!

    They LIVE longer...and pay taxes longer!
    Their succes breeds MORE weight loss.
    You become LESS of a healthcare burden almost immediately!

    So, using logical thinking, absolutely YES!

    September 14, 2009 at 4:25 pm |
  89. Greg, Ontario

    Absolutely not. Just once put yourself in the employers position. It's stuff like this that works against job creation. Put the darn fork down or lose your job, it really should be that simple.

    September 14, 2009 at 4:26 pm |
  90. Kristine from Manchester,Connecticut

    No way. I do think that if you pay for a gym membership and you can get a printout at the end of the year showing you went 3-4 times a week, then this should be a tax-deduction for "well-care".
    If you got fat for no other reason that is not medical but laziness, then that is your fault not your employers. Hypothyroid people are overweight due to lack of hormone. Once that is controled, exercise and watching what one puts into one's mouth works great~

    September 14, 2009 at 4:26 pm |
  91. Diane Dagenais Turbide


    this is what I mean...listening to Ted Kennedy's father advice to his son...this is what the country needs to search a little bit more what kind of life and active role does the people of the country wants to play in this world at home and abroad!

    September 14, 2009 at 4:27 pm |
  92. HD in Phoenix, AZ

    Hell no they should not have to pay for someone's out of control eating habits. That is totally absurd! It is bad enough that the tax payers too often foot the bill for all the heart and lung disease out there caused by cigarette smokers who give no thought to what they are doing. If people want to screw themselves over, the rest of us should not have to pay for it. These people choose the road they are walking when they do this to themselves and they alone need to deal with the consequences when they hit home.

    HD in Phoenix, AZ

    September 14, 2009 at 4:27 pm |
  93. Natalia, Albuquerque, NM

    While I feel sorry for the situation of the obese man, I do not believe that the company should be made to responsible for his employee's weight loss surgery. Unfortunately in the US, we live in a country in which no one has to take personal responsibility for any of their actions. Cheat on a test, have your parents hire a lawyer to sue the school administration; fall off your bicycle, sue the bicycle company for not making a safe bike; become overweight by eating at fast food restaurants, sue the restaurants for offering less than healthy choices. While, this man is taking personal responsibility to his weight problem by agreeing to the surgery, he needs to not blame and force his employer to pay for his decision.

    September 14, 2009 at 4:27 pm |
  94. Joey

    No, never! It is every person's responsibility to excercise and eat right. I work at a pizza business and I work 35-40 hrs in 4 days. I can only eat there. I'm not gaining weight or complaining.

    September 14, 2009 at 4:28 pm |
  95. j/n

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

    Quoting from above- "the court said the surgery should be covered because the man’s weight and the accident combined to create a single injury"- raises the following question: is the pizza shop directly responsible for this employee's obesity?...if it is which seems unlikely, your contention would appear to be valid viz. considerably more fat people will find themselves dieting and job hunting simultaneously at least in the state of Indiana...

    September 14, 2009 at 4:28 pm |
  96. Flyingwolf, Manchester NH

    Not only do I feel employers shouldn't have to pay for weight-reduction surgery, I feel they shouldn't even have to hire obese people. All the obese people at my job (and I don't mean just the pudgy–I mean people a good 100+ lbs over a healthy weight) complain about having to get up off their fat butts to do anything. They whine about the aches and pains they have from stressing out their body but they won't go near a salad and make fun of people who do eat sensibly. They sweat under normal temperatures and whine about having to do the same work as others and think because they're as big as a planet everything should revolve around them. They keep forgetting they're the ones who got themselves that way and keep wanting to make us pay for it, while they laugh at us for eating sensibly.

    September 14, 2009 at 4:31 pm |
  97. Richard, Kankakee, IL.

    Yes if it make the person healthy, end the end it will save the employer millions and increase their employees work life length!!

    September 14, 2009 at 4:32 pm |
  98. Jane - WI

    And people wonder why health insurance premiums are so high....Of course, employers shouldn't have to foot the bill for a surgery such as that (unless perhaps it is caused by a medical problem). Federal and state mandates are part of the problem of why we have are seeing higher and higher insurance premiums. time to put an end to mandates if we are to be serious about insurance reform.

    September 14, 2009 at 4:33 pm |
  99. Gina Russo, Naples, FL

    In a word, no. Unless a person has been imprisoned and subjected to forced feedings by the shovelful, that person alone is responsible for his or her weight, and any costs resulting from his/her obesity should that person's responsibility alone.

    September 14, 2009 at 4:34 pm |
  100. Janice from Collingswood NJ

    The insurance company will and should pay if the weight problem is so serious that death may occur as it's result. They pay for vastectomies don't they?

    September 14, 2009 at 4:40 pm |
  101. Matthew from Orange,CA

    The Employer is responsible for this man's weight loss surgery because of a back injury at work?

    Next they'll be responsible for his DUI manslaughter defense because he felt a need to hit the bar after a stressful day making pizza.

    Give me a break!

    September 14, 2009 at 4:42 pm |
  102. mike from silver cliff co

    Inderstand the benifit. However, why should the employer be invovled in any health care issue. To many people have their fingers in the heatlh care pie. Let the employer worry about your job and the employee worry about their heath. Start by doing push-aways, push yourself away from the table.

    September 14, 2009 at 4:43 pm |
  103. Marie Ontario

    No one should have to pay for anyone else's medical treatment in any modern society. That is why all the Industrialized nations have socialized medical programs.

    In modern societies either workman's compensation or a person's health insurance pays for all that is necessary to eliminate suffering or death regardless of the reason for the existing medical condition.

    A person's stature or lifestyle should not be a guideline to whether or not they receive medical treatment under any circumstances as that is just a human right recognized all over the Industrialized world.

    September 14, 2009 at 4:44 pm |
  104. Hillcrester in California

    This isn't really about obesity, weight loss, or surgery. It is about the fundamental problem inherent in having health insurance related to employment and having a worker's compensation medical system separate from health insurance in general. What the person needs (or doesn't need) shouldn't be decided by an employer, by the courts, or by for-profit health insurers. It should be decided by patients and their doctors.

    September 14, 2009 at 4:44 pm |
  105. Ted, Aloha, OR

    Employer doesn't have insurance?
    Oops, forgot, insurance denies coverage for that..., then cancels employers insurance....and all pizza chains in the US. Finally, Anyone who has ever worked at a pizza parlor, will never be able to get insurance because of possible pre-existing conditions of obesity tendencies and tomato sauce rash.

    September 14, 2009 at 4:45 pm |
  106. Jane (Minnesota)

    Not if they didn't contribute to it. America has become a Nation of people that will not take responsibility for almost everything.

    September 14, 2009 at 4:46 pm |
  107. Teri K

    If we had a 'public option' it wouldn't matter who paid for it, would it?

    One thing leads to another. In order to fix one problem, they have to fix the other. Say he hurt his back but was a slim smoker and they spotted lung cancer during the x-rays – would they have to pay for his treatment or just let him suffer? But honestly, what is the difference between paying for weight loss surgery for an obese person, or paying for cancer or heart surgery for a smoker? Both smoking and overeating are bad for you, and according to many (certainly not all) they are both 'choices'. Should we deny all smokers health care too? Should we deny all 'weekend warriors' knee or hip replacement surgeries because they chose high impact exercise?

    If you want to get on that slippery slope of 'rationing', be very careful.

    Palm coast FL

    September 14, 2009 at 4:46 pm |
  108. mike from silver cliff co

    I understand the benifit. However, why should the employer be invovled in any health care issue. To many people have their fingers in the heatlh care pie. Let the employer worry about your job and the employee worry about their heath. Start by doing push-aways, push yourself away from the table.

    September 14, 2009 at 4:46 pm |
  109. Sandra in Temecula, CA

    And people wonder why America is so screwed up. Time for the fat man to take responsibility for his weight problem. They should have Never hired him, but then that would be discrimination. Losing weight is hard, it takes will power and exercise, too much trouble for some, surgery is easier and lets find someone to blame it on! and make them pay for it.

    September 14, 2009 at 4:48 pm |
  110. Maria

    Good giref, no. Have we not heard or understood the concept of preventative health plans?

    Throw out all your dishes,silverware, paper plates, pans and try eating small portions off a paper towel. Guaranteed to reduce your caloric intake!


    September 14, 2009 at 4:49 pm |
  111. Lance, Ridgecrest, Ca

    Jack, I would say that it depends on the circumstances. If the overweight conditions threatens the patient's health, then absolutely, employers and insurance should pay. If it is a cosmetic surgery, then no, the patient should pay for elective types of surgery. Of course, once we get socialized national health care, the government must pay for everything any of these patients want or somebody will start screaming "discrimination" and sue the taxpayers. That's the way things work in this country nowadays.

    September 14, 2009 at 4:50 pm |
  112. Steve Canada

    The proper judgement would be like this. We will pay for your surgery as soon as you are able to have it..We need you at x pounds. Give us a call when you get there...Simple!

    September 14, 2009 at 4:53 pm |
  113. Paul Round Rock, Texas

    Jack this whole story is really sad. It should show us all that many of us just eat the wrong things and at the wrong times. Also it should show that to many are to lazy to walk even a short distance or even cut what they do eat in half. These people may have had an industrial accident and need surgery but the employer should not be force to correct a condition that they had no control over to start with. In the future I see that employers will be much more careful in hiring overweight people and that should not be. But the Forest Gump attitude on obesity of Mama says fat is as fat does needs to stop.

    September 14, 2009 at 4:54 pm |
  114. Bruce St Paul MN

    If as the court says, the man's weight and the accident combined to create an injury, shouldn't there be shared responsibility? Maybe bring McDonalds in as a resposible third party. Or maybe the maker of the couch the guy has been laying on for the last twenty years. How about Coca Cola? Escalator makers? There has obviously been a conspiracy that led to this.

    September 14, 2009 at 4:57 pm |
  115. Roy

    No the employer should not pay. And yes the employer should have the right to not hire an obese person, smoker or one with any other habits that will not present the image he/she desires for the business or will risk increased costs to the employer. Those at the Toom of the Unknowns in Arlington must meet very strigent conditions and body types. I would not like an improper image there nor in my business.

    September 14, 2009 at 5:01 pm |
  116. Sandra in Arkansas

    Often weight loss surgery is not covered under insurance and it should be. Weight loss surgery is far less expensive than most knee or hip replacement surgeries that obese patients will need and diabetic problems they may face if the obesity is not treated. If you have never had or known someone with a weight problem you may not sympathize. Look at the people around you. If you all died of starvation would you be the same size...no, there are differences in build, metabolism, heredity, and, of course, diet. Why don't we help people instead of ridicule them or condemn them to discrimination veiled or not.

    September 14, 2009 at 5:07 pm |
  117. Jeanne

    Is it just too hard for some people to take responsibility for themselves–eat sensibly and excercise regularly? There really are no shortcuts–this weight loss surgery business is just rediculous and probably won't help him in the long run. He is the one who turned himself into a circus curiosity. No, I don't think the employer should have to pay a dime for either procedure. This is just disgusting. ...from Jeanne, Freeman, MO

    September 14, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  118. Fran of Huntington, NY

    Sure, and how about some plastic surgery, new wardrobe. It makes so much sense.

    September 14, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  119. Jerry Williams

    Fundamentally we are back to health care coverage! All employers should have to provide medical coverage to their employees and that coverage should include weight loss surgery. There should not be exclusions for something that will improve an employees health. With obesity being a growing problem it will one day touch you or someone you love...If this employer covered his workers like they should be it would not be a problem that had to be taken to court which probably cost more than the $25,000 weight loss surgery would have.


    September 14, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  120. roger

    What happened to "personal responsibility"? Companies cannot refuse to hire due to physical conditions (FATNESS), but is now responsible for injuries from such a pre existing condition? But insurance companies don't have to insure pre existing conditions. Am I the only one who thinks this is assinine?

    September 14, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  121. Jim/NC

    No, but hell no an employer should not pay for an individuals weight loss surgery. One's body is the responsibility of the individual. Ridiculous!!

    September 14, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  122. JGB

    The message here is that discrimination based on weight is better than paying for this mans surgery. Lack of common sense when a fat person can sue their employer cause their fat!

    September 14, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  123. Fritz Waldow

    Yes, why not? Send the individual to China to have the procedure performed, maybe it will reconsider...

    But why on gods earth can someone become so fat, that this kind of surgery must be suggested anyway? Of ocurse there are some illnesses that cause massive obesity, but other than this it appears to be a lack of education and couch potato character. Get away from the screen get them out and move, kids!

    Fritz W. Alpharetta, GA

    September 14, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  124. Deborah in Blue Springs, MO

    So, does this set the precedent so I can sue my employer for my poverty level? The economy has injured my financial solvency and I was poor before I started working there...

    September 14, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  125. Linda in Arizona

    First, the employers can't discriminate because of obesity, no matter how gross, and then they must pay for gastric bypass for their already obscenely overweight employee? That has a slight ring of unfairness to me. And let's consider the reason that bypass surgery works. People have their stomachs reduced so they can't eat as much. Nothing more is done. They then eat less and they lose weight. Is it really justifiable to do major surgery just so fat people will eat less, when if they had eaten less in the first place, they wouldn't need the surgery? That is insane. If I were an employer, I wouldn't hire a morbidly obese person in the first place. Not only do you know from the start they will have more health problems, I just wouldn't want one around.

    September 14, 2009 at 5:22 pm |
  126. Barbara; Spring Grove, IL

    If these examples do not support the need for healthcare reform including tort reform, I don't know what does. My insurance gives incentives and discounted premiums to people who practice healthy habits, and today my employer sponsered a wellness walk for all employees. It is a fact that we are one of the fattest and unhealthiest countries in the world. Insurance companies should promote preventive medicine instead of waiting to treat people after a major problem develops. I also believe that everyone should have access to affordable healthcare!

    September 14, 2009 at 5:24 pm |
  127. Carl D.

    Skinny people may not like my answer, yes they should pay for the surgery, is it not a health issue?
    If these corrupt insurance companies would realize the money they would save in the way of Medications that wouldn't be needed anymore, less doctor appointments, less Diabetes problems, this would save there companies a lot of money, you know, so they could give themselves bigger bonuses. I'am all for a government run Healthcare plan. This is for the people that are against government Healthcare, just lose your Healthcare and see how fast you would want a government Healthcare plan.
    Carl in Illinois

    September 14, 2009 at 5:30 pm |
  128. John - Carlsbad, CA


    Just like the healthcare debate as a whole, this is a cart before the horse argument.

    What companies should be doing is providing educational and real health benifits like gym memberships or on site gyms for larger companies, nutrition/cooking classes/education, exercise groups and company sponsored activities. These things are true healthcare not the sick care of providing surgery after all of the damage has been done.

    Hell Jack even the companies lobbying government to get the food industry to get all of the crap out of the food we are consuming would be more worth while and beneficial than providing money for surgery.

    Carlsbad, CA

    September 14, 2009 at 5:32 pm |
  129. Sue, Seattle

    Should employer paid health coverage pay for lung cancer treatment? Substance abuse treatment? Cavities?

    September 14, 2009 at 5:32 pm |
  130. Loren, Chicago

    Whatever happened to pre-existing condition exclusions? As a lawyer, I am always appalled at the willingness of judges to go beyond the plain language of the statute to benefit a "sypathetic" plaintiff. While the person's obesity would make recovery from the accident more difficult, that is the situation that that person has put himself into and the employer shouldn't be responsible for the individual's choices for his own life. This also has other implications as Mr. Cafferty correctly points out. If I am en employer and I have a choice between an experienced person who is obese and an inexperienced who is not obese, I can train the one person, but the law says I can't make the obese person lose weight, as it may not be a legitimate condition of employment. Who would you hire if you're at risk of having to pay for a surgery unrelated to his work? Common sense says this court lacks common sense.

    September 14, 2009 at 5:33 pm |
  131. Josh from Chicago

    Its time for obese people take responsibility for themselves. They are the one who make the wrong choices. They are the ones who have to take control of their actions. By calling it a diese and having someone pay for surgery, they are looking for the easy way out and not getting to the root of the problem that is deep down in their emotional self. I know this because I've come to terms with myself and lost 30 lbs by eating right, exercising almost everyday.

    September 14, 2009 at 5:33 pm |
  132. Gerry Blandina

    Doesn't their insurance cover this? This appears to be a workman's comp case. Just one more reason for health reform.

    September 14, 2009 at 5:41 pm |
  133. Antonio from Washington D.C.

    Whoever is willing to pay for it, just pay for it!!!!!!!!

    September 14, 2009 at 5:43 pm |
  134. Ed'sKate

    NO. I agree with the company he worked for. They were willing to pay for the back surgery. Fine. Why in heaven's name should they have to pay for his weight loss operation? This is another case where some courts are just as nutty as the insurance companies.

    September 14, 2009 at 5:46 pm |
  135. Carolyn Tampa, FL

    Absolutely not! An employer shouldn't discriminate against age, sex, or color – things a person cannot change. But obesity is a result of bad food choices and lack of self-control. As we get older, it is harder to lose weight, but it is not impossible. Studies show that many who get gastric bypass turn to another addiction afterwards – like shopping or alcohol – because the real reason for the overeating was not addressed.

    September 14, 2009 at 5:59 pm |
  136. Jimmy

    Yes, let's continue to place more burden on employers and any jobs that can go over seas............will! Who in their right mind would try and run a business in this country?

    September 14, 2009 at 6:01 pm |
  137. Linda Dallas, Tx

    Absolutely not. There should be a tax on obesity foods. Just like for those who smoke cigarettes and those who drink alcohol.

    September 14, 2009 at 6:01 pm |
  138. Jon (San Diego)

    Only if the insured signs a letter that says if they gain the weight back the cost of the surgery has to be repaid

    September 14, 2009 at 6:01 pm |
  139. Mark

    In tort law, under the comparative negligence doctrine, the plaintiff's recovery for damages is reduced in direct proportion to their negligent contribution to their own injuries. Since the plaintiff bears 100% of the responsibility for their becoming overweight, they should pay 100% of the cost of the weight loss surgery. In fact, I'd argue that the back injury was at least 50% related to their weight and only pay 50% for the back surgery.

    September 14, 2009 at 6:02 pm |
  140. mike tn

    absolutley not


    September 14, 2009 at 6:04 pm |
  141. Jeff Crocket in New Britain, CT

    HR 3200 allows the President to select a healthcare panel working in the White House. 28 people to decide every aspect of healthcare without scrutiny!!!!

    So you want to know what will happen with Obesity? Watch for the Obesity police at your home soon!!

    September 14, 2009 at 6:06 pm |
  142. Gary - Woodhaven, Michigan

    An employer should not have to pay for this surgery if not a condition that was contracted because of employement. However, as with smoking cessation, psychological treatment, rehabilitation, insurance companies should offer some form of psychological, emotional, and physical help for the obese who choose to seek help.

    This of course would lower medical costs in the long run.

    September 14, 2009 at 6:10 pm |
  143. Mary Jo

    Not unless the employer shoved food down the employee's throat.

    September 14, 2009 at 6:10 pm |
  144. Sander

    no, obesity takes a long time to develop so somewhere in time something went wrong (for whatever reason) and unless the employer directly caused the obesity, there's no reason they should pay for it

    September 14, 2009 at 6:10 pm |
  145. Tom

    Employers should pay for a pair of sneakers or a bicycle. I think that would be enough.

    Salem, OR

    September 14, 2009 at 6:11 pm |
  146. ROCKY IN L.A.

    If the employers are to be forced to pay, then they should have the right not to hire somebody because they're obese. I don't agree with either.

    September 14, 2009 at 6:11 pm |
  147. Jamal

    No. Fat people should work out just like the rest of us. No one held a gun to their head saying to eat big macs, drink soda and sit around the house all day.

    September 14, 2009 at 6:11 pm |
  148. Mitchell

    Absolutely not, no employer should have to pay for their employees weight loss surgery. It is the employee's problem if they are overweight. There are PLENTY options out there to keep your weight under control. It almost seems like a $25,000 reward for getting hurt on the job.

    Mitchell, Columbia, South Carolina

    September 14, 2009 at 6:11 pm |
  149. Jay

    NO! How much did the judge weigh?

    September 14, 2009 at 6:11 pm |
  150. Peter

    What a novel idea. I can claim just about anything unrelated to an on-the-job related injury and get away with it. Now that's what I call health care.

    September 14, 2009 at 6:11 pm |
  151. Matthew from San Antonio, TX

    Absolutely Not! The employee made the choice to over eat and he/she needs to know the consequences of their actions. There was no gun put to their head to over eat. They need to make the choice to know how much to eat and what not to eat. The employer should not have to pay for something they didn't do.

    September 14, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  152. Cindy Central Pennsylvania

    No. Obesity is a personal choice. It should only be workman's comp if your weight was job related like a food taster.

    September 14, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  153. Leslie

    A tough one – in most cases, I would say no. However, there are those whose lives are more significantly threatened than others and there perhaps should be a case by case evaluation with the personnal doctor having the greatest weight in the decision.

    September 14, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  154. Dave in NH

    Absolutely not!!! The obese already get the good parking spaces at WalMart. And now they want weight reduction surgery paid for by their employer? What happened to accountability?

    September 14, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  155. Eric in Korea

    Not no, but hell no! An individuals eating habits and job 'un-related' health problems should not be the concern of the employer. Nobody expects an employer to pay for a triple bypass, why should one have to pay for weight loss? Take the money saved and invest it in eating healthy programs for young Americans, it'll save us in the long run.

    September 14, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  156. Bediako George

    Perhaps this case highlights the importance of creating a public insurance option?

    September 14, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  157. Marty Andrews

    Not no but hell no. People need to be responsible for themselves once in a while.

    September 14, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  158. Barrie

    Wouldn't this question be moot if there were a decent health care system which covered everybody with no preconditions. If there was ever an argument for health insurance reform, this is a it.

    September 14, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  159. Jourdan

    I agree with Dana. No, the employer should not have to pay for weight loss surgery. In fact, the injured back, though happened at work, is probably a result of the obesity. It affects stability. Is obesity now a recognized handicap that public places are going to be forced to consider to avoid lawsuits? Personal Accountability!!!!!

    September 14, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  160. Charlie in Belen, New Mexico

    This is the type of instance where a "public option" and or "single payer" form of health care insurance would make sense. (Like my Medicare.)

    September 14, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  161. Matt in Blacksburg, VA

    Employers should not have to pay a dime for someone to lose weight. What I want to know is this man's previous life choices. We know that he was overweight when hired. Was he trying to lose weight? Was he dieting and exercising, and avoiding junk food? My guess is no. I completely agree with covering on-the-job injury, but it seems to me that this individual is trying to milk the injury for all it is worth. He probably never thought about losing weight before, but thought "what the hell" when the money was so easy to get.

    September 14, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  162. Steve - Omaha, NE

    Jack, employers should not be held accountable for covering someone's obesity. The fact is that the person's weight problems were his/her choice and his/her choice alone. Surgery is not needed for most people to lose weight, and it is just someone's way of cheating the system to fix something they really don't want to put forth the effort to fix themselves.

    September 14, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  163. Chrus

    Employers must pay these costs until a different payer is found.

    September 14, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  164. Bea

    Absolutely not! So, the law says you have to hire the fat guy but then you get penalized when he needs surgery for an accident for which his obesity was very possibly a contributing factor. At what point did Americans stop taking responsibility for themselves and when did judges lose their ability to use common sense?

    September 14, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  165. Sandi Williams

    I think it would be useful to look at this in the context of what it costs the public for all these right wing 'pro-life', 'don't spend my money on those people', wing nuts who think it is perfectly reasonable for my tax dollars and my insurance premiums should go to enable them to reproduce – and not just add one or two kids but have many multiple births complete with the $100,000 plus per kid to get them up to 1 year old.

    September 14, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  166. STEWART

    There is a pretext in law that says you take a claimant as you find them, in other words if there is a pre exisitng condition and you are liable for yet another condition, you are liable for the whole person.
    Like it or not thats the precedemce.

    September 14, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  167. Ryan

    I think that if an employee is obese when hired, only an injury sustained during work should be the employers liability. Corrective surgery, in order to perform the required surgery, is not the employers responsibility as the employer could not have prevented the obesity. If an employer is going to be financially liable for obesity, in this sense, then the employer should have the right not to hire someone solely based on their weight!

    September 14, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  168. dave nashville

    Weighty question, lol. While it is the right thing to do in most cases, by denying the claim it may send a message to people to control their weight. I say let them wrestle it out, winner take all.

    September 14, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  169. Mike in Mississippi

    Hey Jack, I'm assuming this is a Workman's Compensation claim that can be decided by Circuit Court judges who are "on-the-take". We have one in my state in Federal prison as I type this for that very thing. That said I would think a restaurant would WANT to pay for weight loss surgery for an extremely valuable employee. Ever hear of Jared? He didn't lose all that weight on sandwiches alone.

    September 14, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  170. joe m

    if an employer will be forced to cover sugeries like this, then they should also be able to force the employee to sign up for insurace with higher premiums to help cover the cost. today, people who smoke, don't workout, or practice risky behavior are forced to change their habits or face paying higher insurance payments. heck, the government wants to tax soda and other 'unhealthy' stuff. it is then not unreasonable for an employer to inform an overweight employee that they will either have to face higher insurance premiums, or take advantage of resources that can help them loose wieght before they suffer any majoy injuries or illnesses.

    September 14, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  171. Jack Starkman

    No, I don't think an employer should have to pay for an employee's weight loss surgery that is not covered by any medical insurance.

    September 14, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  172. Sarah J. Williams

    ABSOLUTELY NOT. Employers should give their obese employees a copy of The End of Overeating.

    September 14, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  173. Scott

    No, employers should not pay for weight loss surgery. It is just setting a precedent of expecting someone else to clean your mess. My health insurance through my work pays for a gym membership and weight loss programs like weight watcher or nutrasystem are cheap compared to the surgery. Scott, Fort Lauderdale, FL

    September 14, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  174. john crabtree

    im 65 lbs over weight because of overeating and being lazy,we need to be more responsible for ourselves and take better care and exercise.people want to take easy way out with surgery.we need to get off our lazy butts and diet and exercise.its a win win for all of us.my weight loss begins today!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    September 14, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  175. Dan - Eustis, florida

    Whatever happened to being responsible for your actions. Lawyers have
    ruined our Country. Why do you think Health costs are sky high. We all
    pay for frivolous cases like the one you mention. If this tank, who obviously has no self control and has pepperoni and cheese coursing
    through his veins will not take control of his life do you really think Gastro
    bypass will help him. You have to want to be healthy.

    September 14, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  176. William Rogers

    you have got to be kidding. We should not have to pay for an employee to get surgery for being fat. If its job induced maybe.
    Our country has got to get its act together and start looking out for those that should be getting help. I wouldn't hire anyone who is fat if that were the case.

    September 14, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  177. Darren Johnson

    I work the door at a strip club, and I think my boss should pay for my surgery for eye strain. Do you think I have a case?

    Darren in Fairbanks, Alaska

    September 14, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  178. Chuck from Illinois

    Of course. They should also pay for surgery I need because of my smoking and drinking habbits. Only in America.

    September 14, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  179. Raph

    The pizzeria should NOT have to pay for this surgery. If this goes through, employers are going to take more caution when hiring employees and this will lead to discrimination issues. It is the employee's problem that he is obese, whether he is to blame for it or not. This is great! I should just have my employer pay for my eczema expenses.

    September 14, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  180. Ed from Montana

    OK, let's go with the employer has to pay for weight loss surgery because you are overweight, then we can have them also pay for school because you're ignorant, give you a trust fund because you are poor, hair because you are bald, plastic surgery becasue you are ugly... give me a freaking break. At one point do we say a person is responsible for themselves?

    September 14, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  181. al from hawaii

    Jack, this is really scary, and 'chlling' doesn't cover it. Our courts seem to agree that no one is responsible for their behavior, and lawsuits blaming others for one's misbehaviors are becoming commonplace. And, of course, the lawyers get richer. What happened to personal responsibility and common sense?

    A question for YOU: what do us 'little guys' do to end such nonsense?

    September 14, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  182. Gary

    Holy Cow! (Pun intended) If an employee starts a job and is already overweight and suffers an injury that is due in part to that weight then that individual should be AT A MINIMUM partly responsible for the cost of the bypass surgery. Jack, you're absolutely right that this decision will have a chilling effect on hiring overweight individuals. Our legal system, or at least the decisions being made there, is severely broken.

    September 14, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  183. Philip

    Jack, I'm not sure but I want an application for that pizza place. Maybe I can find some ridiculous items of my own for them to pay...Like I don't know... my credit cards.

    September 14, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  184. Diane

    Jack I have a history of skin cancer, should my employer pay for me to have plastic suergery to cover up the scars from the removal of my cancer??????????????????? The employer needs to tell the over weight employee to go on a serious diet or he or she will not have health insurance!!!!!!!!! Its not the employers faught the employee is over weight, give me a break!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    September 14, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  185. Spencer

    Absolutely not, Jack. Employers should not be held responsible for their employee's personal choices. It's completely ridiculous that any employer would have to be concerned about having to answer to their employees' obesity.

    September 14, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  186. Sarah

    No, definately not. If the company has an option to offer an insurance that covers such a surgery, than that employee should have to cover what's not covered. To make a Employer Liable for such, brings to question: and people wonder why we are not recovering faster? Let's kick the job creaters while they are down. And essentially make them the scape goats for obesity, not personal choice or heredity.

    September 14, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  187. Brian in WV

    With government programs covering more people and employers being forced to pay for more entitlements, I think that I'm going to stop arguing against it.

    I'll just continue my recklessness and let others pay for me. Thanks for the free ride, taxpayers!

    September 14, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  188. Heather Mash

    Weighing in on this... obesity, a weighty problem, in most cases, a personal responsibility. Public Health in Canada provides programs for those with weight problems because obesity leads to many health problems. Someone needs to cut back the fat on the justice system that's make these kind of calls. In a word this is STUPID!!

    September 14, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  189. aze45

    NO, NO, NO, no employer should pay for weight loss surgery. The only way to save the employer and employee is the public option, therefore let support public option.

    September 14, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  190. john

    I don't think an employer should pay for loss surgery . But it would be a good idea if the goverment would have some type of program a sort of cash for fat program were you have weight loss surgery and the goverment will pay the bill . its makes america healthy and takes some strain off health care . And companies save money .

    September 14, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  191. Kim in Chicago

    Jack, this is getting more rediculous by the year. When will the government tell the truth about food and health and stop protecting healthcare, pharma, producers, food companies and others who profit from our poor health. The science is solid, the answer is simple, eat unrefined fruits and vegetables and be healthy. If you don't help yourself the government and taxpayers will not either.....

    September 14, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  192. Linda in Alta Loma, CA

    No employer should be required to pay for weight loss surgery even if employee is injured on their job. As a former small business owner, I feel the court ruling would definitely make it more difficult for an overweight/obese person to find a job even if it was a desk job.l

    September 14, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  193. Jan in Phoenix

    This points to a larger systemic issue in our society Jack.
    People are obese. Just read "Fast Food Nation."
    In order to overcome obesity, we do NOT need to sign up for a reality TV program. What we should do, is take it upon ourselves to measure our B.M.I. – (that's body mass indexes), and try to excercise in order to overcome our individual problems.
    I've done it – I started Lance Armstrong's diet program over two months ago and lost 40 pounds already. This to me, is my own personal healthcare reform, I'm not going to wait for government to help me lose weight, I'm doing it by myself.

    September 14, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  194. mark pribble Anna Il.

    I don't think they should have to pay, but if the employer has that type of coverage than they should let the person no this is available to them and the employee can make a % of payments for the surgery and all parties would win .

    September 14, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  195. Dale Finley

    The employee suffered an on-th-job back injury and needs surgery. The surgery cannot be done or will not be successful unless other surgery is also done. I see no problem with having the workers' comp. carruer having to pay.

    If the employee could not have back surgery without repair of an unrelated hernia, people would have no problem with requiring payment for both surgeries. What is the problem if one condition is weight-related?

    September 14, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  196. Annie, Atlanta

    That’s a tough one. If he hurt his back at work and can’t have surgery until he loses weight, I can understand the ruling. There’s some details missing here, such as if this employee loses weight, could the back problem be relieved without surgery, and was he obese when hired.

    September 14, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  197. Flo-Michigan

    Send him to "The Biggest Loser", or a like program at a local gym, and then Worker's Comp can pay for the back surgery.

    September 14, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  198. Chad from Los Angeles

    Depends, did the employee become obese from eating the future employers food all the time? They should have cut him off or made him order a salad with his pizzas!

    September 14, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  199. Carla - Wyoming

    Your state legislature decides the laws and rules pertaining to Worker's Compensation. Each state is different. If you don't like it, VOTE! You have the power to change things, especially in your state. Stop blaming the Federal Government and President Obama for everything. VOTE for reform in every aspect of daily life. It starts with you, your Governor, your State Legislators, your VOTE for Us Representatives and US Senators.

    September 14, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  200. phillip

    Hell NO.....What is the matter with America yes we are the the land of the free but be real. People need to be responsible for their own action.What is going on here?........

    September 14, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  201. ingrid, new york

    employees should only have to pay for injuries sustained on the job (person slips and falls and breaks a bone, pulls their back, etc.). obesity itself is not an injury, if an obese person falls they are going to be injured just as a non-obese person. obesity is a chronic condition caused by consistent overeating and sometimes (but seldom so) by other medical conditions. just as we expect employees not to discriminate against obese people in their hiring process, if somehow they start being held "responsible" for obesity and the various conditions it causes then there will be even more serious discrimination against obese people.

    September 14, 2009 at 6:19 pm |
  202. Amanda

    Absolutely not. There is an alarming trend in this country to abdicate responsibility for the consequences of one's own choices. This is a free country, and we're all free to smoke, eat poorly, and sit on the couch if we want to. But that shouldn't mean that those of us who choose to behave responsibly should be penalized in the form of covering things like this surgery. Make no mistake, it isn't a pizza shop paying for this surgery, it's all of us.

    September 14, 2009 at 6:19 pm |
  203. Lorie

    I think it depends entirely on the cause of the weight gain. Some people have a endogenous reason why they have gained weight such as thyroid issues or adrenal issues. These issues should get help from (LOL) insurance provided by the employer. However, people who are just lazy with portion control and lack of exercise have brought their weight issues on themselves. Asking an employer to pay for their bad choices is just just another lazy action on their part and it should not be allowed.

    September 14, 2009 at 6:19 pm |
  204. Rachael Hollifield

    If the employee wasn't so obese to begin with, the injury most likely would not have occurred or been so bad to need surgery.

    September 14, 2009 at 6:19 pm |
  205. Voula, NY

    Dear Jack,

    No I do not agree that a health insurance carrier or the employer of any emplyoee should pay for the surgery when a person is over weight. Being over weight is not a disease but a problem that a person has caused for themselves by over eating. If we as the connsumer cannot stop our selves from over eating why should we expect our employers to pay for bygastric surgery to reduce our weight. Not to offend the over weight people out there they should attempt to eat less and excercise more..

    Thank you,

    Voula, NY

    September 14, 2009 at 6:19 pm |
  206. martin poropat

    Jack overweight is 99% ones own fault of eating too much and not getting enough exsirsize and maybe of being a couch potatoe who likes t.v. too much . What else can I say ........................... and no the man should not get that operation for being overweight . God Bless everyone in the U.S.A. marty here in Cartagena Spain

    September 14, 2009 at 6:19 pm |
  207. Sue,

    Jack ofcourse the employer should help with the cost.,even though Its not his responsible.

    Sue, Washington

    September 14, 2009 at 6:20 pm |
  208. Kevin

    N0 – let the public option cover it!

    September 14, 2009 at 6:20 pm |
  209. rich beahr

    just another example of transfering responsibilty to someone else. where does it stop? if an employee of mine is a lifetime smoker and gets hurt at my shop (i own a business) but the doctor wont treat them unless they get a lung transplant is it me who has to pay?? if we dont stop this madness there will be no more small businesses left.

    September 14, 2009 at 6:20 pm |
  210. Steve Nash

    Jack :
    If am employer has the right to turn down someone for their weight, do to increased insurance cost, wouldn"t they also then have the same right for a smoker? an acholic?. A smoker or an acholic both have the choice to quit, just as they say an overweight person can lose weight. Overweight people at made fun of and ridiculed is this done to smokers an drinkers.

    Steve N.

    September 14, 2009 at 6:20 pm |
  211. Stan

    No Jack

    I run a national medical weight loss company. The surgery has greater risk than the doctors admit. We get several patients each month who have already had weight loss surgery. There is little if any training on how to maintain any weight lost. Offer an obese employee a bonus if the lose the weight. If they do not, make them pay a higher percentage of their health insurance costs.

    September 14, 2009 at 6:20 pm |
  212. Tara from Forest City, NC

    As an obese woman who has been on worker's comp disability since 1996 with a back injury, I would like to point out that there are two perspectives to this situation. Being obese greatly impacts your back, and I do believe if I had been given that option 13 yrs ago, I might not continue to be disabled today. However, in 13 yrs I have had 3 back surgeries and months of physical therapy sessions costing far more than the $25K that a gastric bypass would have cost my employer. I am now awaiting Medicare approval for the surgery myself, but had I been given that surgery at the beginning, I would likely be working today, not on disability, not having had required the 2 fusion surgeries that followed my initial surgery. I would be walking instead of in a wheelchair. Over all, it's likely everyone..my employer, the social security fund, everyone would have saved a LOT of money. Yes, it's his problem that he's obese, but look at the big picture and you might see the overall benefit for everyone by paying.

    September 14, 2009 at 6:21 pm |
  213. james in anaheim california

    Yes Jack,the employer should pay for the surgery, but unfortunately what comes with it will be a backlash of establishments and businesses hiring people who are at an opitmum weight than those who are obese.;it's sad but true. However it all comes back to one simple thing that could have been done to prevent not only his injury but his health as well, and thats exercise!!!

    September 14, 2009 at 6:21 pm |
  214. john crabtree

    how bout a cash for blubber program instead.,pay people for every pound they lose.give them some incentive and reward to get started.cheaper and more healthier in the long run!

    September 14, 2009 at 6:21 pm |
  215. Patricia

    Not if it is a personal choice. If it is a health life and death condition, then it is something to think about.

    September 14, 2009 at 6:21 pm |
  216. The Broker.

    How much do they value their workers. You must admit, if he needs surgery for his health/weight? He/She will be twice as valuable. Twice as Fit. Sluveness is slouch.

    September 14, 2009 at 6:21 pm |
  217. EBC

    Only if the employee is their Spouse, otherwise HELL NO!!!

    Americans are getting FAT, FATTER and OBESE beyond words because they are eating too dam much and not excercising!!! Bottom line.

    Its just that simple Jack. Other countries eat a LOT more richer foods and yet they remain healthier than Americans by far. That's because they walk, bike ride everywhere and they eat "moderately". Other countries don't over eat like Americans do.

    Americans LOVE to ignorantly and selfishly EAT themselves into a stupor at Buffets and Fast Food joints and then expect the government to FIX years of obesity.

    ARE YOU ALL KKKKK-RAZY? Stop stuffing your greedy mouths and start exercising, eating HEALTHEIR foods and maybe just maybe you'll get healtheir instead of ending up in the grave at an early age.

    September 14, 2009 at 6:21 pm |
  218. Dave, Calgary

    Let me get this straight – this dude packed on the fat to the point he cant even have an operation for a back injury from what...lifing pizzas? Nobody becomes 340 pounds by accident.

    September 14, 2009 at 6:22 pm |
  219. A Watts

    Absolutely not!! Any invasive procedure has possibility of complications and what, they have to then pay for that to or be sued because their employee had the surgery they paid for. I think offering a weight management program is a good options instead for the work place. Pay for gym membership or personal trainer or nutrientionalist. Give the employee the opportunity to use these as a benefit...if the employee makes the choice not to use the options then let the employee foot their bill for a dangerous surgery. Where I am employed, we have access to a gym, get discounts on gym memberships, have classes for nutriention. If you are given the tools but you choose not to use them then it isn't the fault of the employer...Surgery isn't always a solution to common sense...

    September 14, 2009 at 6:22 pm |
  220. Lynn

    This is not a simple yes or no question. Sometimes, yes. For those undergoing certain weight loss surgeries diabetes is often sent into resession, research shows huge decreases in cancer, and sleep apnea is often cured. Other conditions such as arthritis leading to knee and hip replacements can be avoided. And, most patients go off high – blood pressure and other medications after having the surgery. Initial costs are recooped within 5 years.

    September 14, 2009 at 6:23 pm |
  221. Josh, Boston

    I think that it should NOT be coverd by the health care provider or employer. An individualts health is primarily their own responsibility. If someone is too lazy to stay in proper shape, or does not have the disciplin to follow a healthy diet and way of living, the employer should not have to take on the responisbilty to pay for them to loose weight or have surgery for something that was most likely their own doing.

    The only way I see that it would be fair to employers and health care providers would be if people who were obese/overweight paid an extra premium for their health insurance (the individual, not the employer) to offset the cost.

    Now...if the employer required them to be overweight, and required them to be unhealthy, thats the only way I see them paying.

    September 14, 2009 at 6:23 pm |
  222. Brandan Aksamit

    The company should only need to pay if the specific surgery is caused by something the person was required to do for the job, not if the person is lazy or bad eater.
    Eating bad can be overcome by working out more. ( I heard I was going on a trip to Hawaii in several months and I was able to work out more and get a better looking build/cut fat by the time I went.)

    September 14, 2009 at 6:24 pm |
  223. Chris Andeson

    Jack, I am a fat bastard. I weight over four bills. Although the company I work for would pay 90% of a gastric bypass surgery, I refuse to do so. I am the idiot that got myself into this situation and I'm going to get myself out of it. To all of you people out there, quit complaining and get off your butt and correct yourself if you aren't happy.

    September 14, 2009 at 6:24 pm |
  224. John from Mars life is better here lol

    If employers must pay for surgery of overweight employees, then pay me for being Black in America and all the crap that comes with that ... sounds ridiculous right...i guess fast-food companies will be in the crosshairs next...what is the world coming to...

    Life is a series of choices and consequences and we must be accountable for our own actions...oh sorry, that puts to much responsibility on an idividual

    September 14, 2009 at 6:24 pm |
  225. Gerardo Rivera, NJ

    This is insane, honestly does everyone have to bend over backwards when someone cries discrimination or unfair treatment? This is pathetic, can America get any stupider?

    September 14, 2009 at 6:25 pm |
  226. @Skaperen

    This is a great example of why health care needs to be completely disassociated from employment. Employment decisions should never be related to how much the health care might cost. Employers should not even be required to manage the benefits package involved. Employment should be strictly work for pay. Anything more could be offered as an attraction to bring people to that job. This can include a "private option" for health care.

    September 14, 2009 at 6:25 pm |
  227. Rye B

    No Jack, they should not. This is more a question of personal responsibility to oneself or lack thereof. Society has fallen into a dangerous trend of blaming anyone & everyone else other then themselves for their problems. Maybe the real question should be; why is America becoming so overwhelmingly obese & why isn't more being done about it...

    September 14, 2009 at 6:25 pm |
  228. joan barlow Annapolis Maryland

    If the Pizza shop owner had forced the employee to consume countless pizzas a day as a condition for employment, then perhaps he should help pay for the surgery. Otherwise, no the owner should not have to contribute to this elective and sometimes dangerous
    procedure. Where would it stop? Would the pizza owner have to pay for his blood pressure medicine? Insulin? Plastic surgery to remove
    excess amounts of loose skin when the weight is lost?
    I do believe, when I hear these reports, that he world has gone mad.

    September 14, 2009 at 6:26 pm |
  229. patricia

    I don't believe this; that's what's wrong with people and the healthcare system in this country!
    I pay for my own health insurance, with a huge deductible, as a matter of fact they had to increase my bodyweight on the application because otherwise I would have been turned down!
    So my money goes towards people that just can't control themselves and talk about "living large" and this poor employer is supposed to pay for this surgery............come on.

    September 14, 2009 at 6:26 pm |
  230. philip scott

    u have to be kidding dose the employer have to pay for drug programs ? makes u wonder whats next

    September 14, 2009 at 6:27 pm |
  231. Allen Austin,MN

    Isn't it about time for Americans to start taking responsibility for their actions and stop being a I'm a victim society. If your hiney is to big for the ladder ,stay off the ladder.

    September 14, 2009 at 6:27 pm |
  232. Don in Minden, Louisiana

    Absolutely! The employer isn't paying for his surgery – the employer's workers' comp insurance is. The intention of workers' comp is to enable the employee to return to work. If someone has a bad hip that causes them to fall and break their arm, we also repair the hip so the employee never falls again. We don't live in a Dickens novel!

    Who should pay for it? My guess is the local pizza joint doesn't provide great health insurance. Maybe if the employer provided better health insurance, the man would have provided for his own gastric bypass surgery and he would have never been injured in the first place.

    September 14, 2009 at 6:27 pm |
  233. Michael

    An employer is not responsible for an employees condition outside of work. If a employee is injured at work the employer is responsible, if the injury is aggravated by a pre-existing condition such as obesity I don't feel the employer is responsible to fix that problem even if it is important to fix it to be able to fix the OTJ injury.

    September 14, 2009 at 6:28 pm |
  234. Jimmy

    How about a little diet and exercise, then maybe he wouldn't have back problems or need that knee replaced!!

    September 14, 2009 at 6:28 pm |
  235. AspenFreePress

    No, the "shakes and fries," lobby should foot that bill along with the bill for heart disease.
    Sterling Greenwood/Aspen Free Press

    September 14, 2009 at 6:29 pm |
  236. Shelly Loveland, Ohio

    Jack, Are you kidding me? Please tell my employer that I would like them to pay my rent, that way I'll have a place to shower before work. Also could they pay for my breakfast so I have some energy when I show up. I could also use some new clothes so I look presentable. A manicure so I don't break a nail. Please have my boss check the air pressure in my tires at least once a month, that way I won't be late due to a flat tire.


    September 14, 2009 at 6:29 pm |
  237. Shelka (Brampton Canada)

    Well, Mr. Cafferty, I believe that more companies should emphasize health in occupational health and safety policies for employees and managers. If health incentives exist in the workplace, such as gym memberships, healthy eating tips for all, along with stress reduction advice, these types of incidents would decrease. Take Siemens for example, one of their health advances for employees, with higher risks of developing type 2 diabetes was the PRAEDIAS project. Employees who participated showed significant health improvement after one year.

    September 14, 2009 at 6:29 pm |
  238. Linda


    My answer is absolutely NO. Even though I'm a person who
    well qualifies for weight loss surgery, I still say no.
    It's time we took reponsibility for our actions.

    Besides, today most insurance policies, both individual and group, will consider payment for weight loss suregery. And in the case of the person who is 200 lbs. plus over weight they usually get that benefit.

    Yes, obesity is a disease, like alcoholism, but lets be reasonable.

    September 14, 2009 at 6:29 pm |
  239. JGB

    How about they charge insurance premiums based on your weight. You are too fat, you pay more.

    September 14, 2009 at 6:30 pm |
  240. C.K. of Colorado

    If someone chooses to neglect their health and it results in obesity, then that's their choice. An employer should NOT have to pay for such surgeries, it's ridiculous. Now I can see why businesses won't hire people who are obese; these frivilous lawsuits could bankrupt them, which means many people will be unemployed (including the business owners).

    September 14, 2009 at 6:31 pm |
  241. Dallas Carroll

    Is there no personal responsibility left in our society? I would be embarrassed to even suggest such a thing to an employer/lawsuit.
    But it should not be a surprise, since many of us had made choices to buy an environmentally friendly car, and struggled to try to see through all the gas-eating SUVs on the road. Alas, those consumers were 'rewarded' by giving them rebate,
    Since there are so 'afflicted' with the obesity 'disease' and so many reasons why it is never their personal fault, why don't we just offer treatment with a 'cash for chunkers' program ?

    September 14, 2009 at 6:31 pm |
  242. Mal St. Laurence

    The Employee should pay for his own gastric-bypass surgery and a portion of his back injury surgery and treatment afterward. It is the employee's own fault that he was so out of shape that he couldn't do his job without being injured, therefore, should share the medical expenses.Maybe all this could have been avoided if he had gotten a job at Subway in stead of a Pizza shop.

    September 14, 2009 at 6:32 pm |
  243. AspenFreePress

    Junk food is the new drug. People get addicted to the stuff. Since there's drug and alcohol rehab, there should be food abuse rehab, too.
    Sterling Greenwood/Aspen Free Press

    September 14, 2009 at 6:33 pm |
  244. steve from lake placid


    President Obama can make them do this! The employer should take care of insurance even if the employee is lazy, makes poor food choices, and abuses McNuggets. The bamster's speaking ability alone can persuade the masses to force employer covered insurance. If that doesn't work barry can just touch his lapel or the hem on his coat. obama is the MESSIAH!

    September 14, 2009 at 6:33 pm |
  245. Dick Locke

    First of all, the employer doesn't pay. An insurance company does. Second, workers' comp insurance is no-fault. Blame and fault have nothing to do with it. Yes, the insurance rate may go up based on loss injury, but the employer isn't paying for the operation.

    Finally, if the insurance company doesn't pay and the employee can't, then what? Medicaid? The public pays?

    September 14, 2009 at 6:34 pm |
  246. Darryl Smith

    Some court decisions continue to amaze me. Should my employer have to pay for weight loss surgery. No. If I were thin and frail then hurt myself on the job, should my employer have to pay for additional food so that I could become bigger and stronger??

    Carlsbad, California

    September 14, 2009 at 6:36 pm |
  247. Jack - Lancaster, OH


    I am skinny and pizza ruins my sleep and the following morning for me. I shudder to think of even walking in the shoes of an obese person in order to understand the experience. I can't get aid to fatten up sooooo......I will have to do that on my own and to a large extent (excuse the unintended pun there) people have to mind their own health issues with some reasonable help (diet education and gym stuff) but not to the extent of being remade into the 6 million dollar person, see what happens to healthcare costs ?

    September 14, 2009 at 6:36 pm |
  248. Martha Louisville, KY

    Employers should not have to pay for Obesity surgery. The employer did not cause the employee to become obese.The injury the employee had did not cause his obesity. The employee caused his own obesity. Workmans comp claims are getting out of hand. Most people on a jury for a workman's comp trial seem to think businesses have all the money and can afford to pay for everything. This needs to be stopped. We all need to take control of our own health and not blame our employers for everything.

    September 14, 2009 at 6:39 pm |
  249. Donald in CA

    Yes, that person would be healthier and in the long run it would save the company money by having a healthier employee. All family lines have a overweight person in it. The government says its OK to sell stuff that make you fat. So lets help them out.

    September 14, 2009 at 6:39 pm |
  250. Tom

    Companies should not have to pay for weight loss surgery unless they are directly responsible for the employee's growth in size. This will only contribute more to the employer's discrimination on those who have chronic diseases but are perfectly able and willing to work and pay taxes and support the American economy.
    As a person who has a chronic disease and got laid off because of it,(using a strike in my business as an excuse), employer's will only accelerate this practice as a continued excuse to cut costs.
    Temple City, CA.

    September 14, 2009 at 6:39 pm |