August 18th, 2010
06:00 PM ET

South Carolina to spend $2.4 million on weight loss surgeries for state workers

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

South Carolina is about to spend $2.4 million to pay for 100 obese state employees to have weight loss surgery.
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The state has approved a pilot program, which would put the money toward gastric bypass and lap-band surgeries. They can cost up to $24,000 each.

The state health plan will monitor these state workers - chosen first come, first serve - for 18 months to see if the plan is worth it.

The idea is South Carolina will save money in the long run by paying for these surgeries upfront. If these fat people will lose a lot of weight after the surgeries, it should alleviate other health issues often related to obesity - like diabetes, high blood pressure, asthma, and sleep apnea. That in turn would hopefully drive down health care costs, prescription costs, etc.

Critics say special interest groups won out here over taxpayers. They suggest this money would be better spent elsewhere, considering the state is furloughing workers.

But one South Carolina surgeon says several other southeastern states - including North Carolina, Georgia and Virginia - cover weight loss surgeries for state workers.

He says in the long run, the state will save "a boatload of money."

They better hope so. You should pardon the expression, but in South Carolina obesity is huge. Nearly 63 percent of adults and 34 percent of children are overweight or obese; both those numbers are above the national averages.

Here’s my question to you: Is it a good idea for South Carolina to spend $2.4 million on weight loss surgeries for state workers?
Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Obesity • On Jack's radar
August 18th, 2010
05:00 PM ET

Who sent clearer message as president, Bush or Obama?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

President Obama - arguably one of the great orators and most articulate campaigners ever to occupy the White House - runs the risk of an "incoherent presidency." The White House is sending out mixed messages that have people scratching their heads and political opponents licking their chops.
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David Morey, whose communication group - Core Strategy - gave advice to the 2008 Obama campaign, tells CNN that "simpler is better" and this White House needs to lead by controlling the dialogue.

It's pretty tough criticism for a candidate whose campaign was tightly run and almost always on message.

Recently - that doesn't seem to be the case. Take the wave of criticism Pres. Obama is facing since he weighed in on the plan to build a mosque and Islamic center near Ground Zero.

After making his initial comments in defense of the project on Friday, the President seemed to backtrack the next day... a White House spokesman felt the need to clarify those comments. And then today Mr. Obama told reporters he has "no regrets" about weighing in on the debate. I bet he does.

Maureen Dowd described Mr. Obama as an "incoherent president" in a recent New York Times column.... saying he's "with the banks, he's against the banks. He's leaving Afghanistan, he's staying in Afghanistan. He strains at being a populist, but his head is in the clouds."

The advice from Morey, the communications expert, is the president needs to sound less like a law professor.

Just a few years ago, critics often ridiculed former President George W. Bush for his mangled speech, mispronouncing words... or just plain making them up. But, Pres. Bush rarely had to backtrack on what he said because he kept it so simple and direct... ""bring 'em on" and "I'm the decider"... remember?

Here’s my question to you: Who sent the clearer message as president, George Bush or Barack Obama?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?