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.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/08/18/art.sc.jpg caption=""]
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?
W. in South Carolina writes:
As a South Carolina native, I have seen and lived the South Carolina diets. Fortunately, I never thought of Mountain Dew as a food group. Perhaps they should outlaw potato chips, soft drinks, tobacco products, and alcohol for state employees instead of spending money on surgery for a temporary solution. I love my home state and all of the people, but I promise a large majority of state workers are among the U.S.'s most unhealthy and laziest.
Anna in Greensboro, North Carolina writes:
Speaking from personal experience here. I had weight-loss surgery almost 2 years ago. I'm a healthy 34-year-old female. After struggling with my weight my whole life, taking every drug that has come out, been on every doctor approved plan out there and every crank diet, surgery was my best option. I wasn't super-morbidly obese and I was very active but I was still 280. I now weigh in at 145. I had severe acid reflux which is now gone. I had back problems that required physical therapy. Also now resolved. My asthma and migraines have both improved with the weight loss. I go to the doctor twice a year now for physicals whereas before it was once a month. I take one medication a day instead of four. Heck yes it's going to save the state money.
Pat in Michigan writes:
No. Spend that money on lunch programs for the poor kids in school. Tell the state workers to walk to work.
Jerry in Florida writes:
Just give them an option: lose weight or look for another job. You're causing our insurance rates to go out the roof.
Ronda in Canastota, New York writes:
It would be better if South Carolina spent a lot less than $2.4 million on educating its state workers to put down that fried chicken with biscuits and gravy, and instead pick up a veggie salad and some low-fat yogurt. And it wouldn't hurt if they took brisk walks on their breaks and lunch hours. That's how I lost almost 60 pounds when I was a New York state worker. I bet it'll work in South Carolina too.
Phil in Florida writes:
Why not? They pay for the governor's trips to South America.