State-funded obesity surgery works

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The anti-government angst behind the Aug. 24 editorial "A fat waste of money" is understandable, but the editorial unfortunately is high on emotion and low on fact-driven common sense.

The government, like any employer, provides health insurance ultimately to get more out of its employees. One-third of Americans are obese, and therefore suffer from diabetes, hypertension, sleep apnea, arthritis and reflux, and lose between five to 20 years of lifespan. While fewer than 5 percent of patients will ever return to normal weight through diet and exercise, surgery provides for durable, significant weight loss, and cures or greatly improves all of these conditions.

The number of insurance plans that cover weight-loss surgery is increasing as insurers, driven by profit motive, realize that when they pay for surgery, they make their money back in decreased medication costs, doctor visits and hospital stays, usually within two years and certainly by four. In fact, one insurance-industry-driven study found that weight-loss surgery would still be cost-effective at $50,000, which is more than twice the average cost. The issue of cost-effectiveness has been extensively studied in the United States, Canada, Australia, Sweden, Germany and the United Kingdom. The evidence that surgery for weight loss reduces health costs long-term is no longer debatable. In fact, one U.K. study showed that government workers made significantly fewer health-care-related claims while productivity improved from 30 hours per week to 35 after weight-loss surgery.

The state of Louisiana has been through all of this. Louisiana now allows bariatric surgery for all of its obese state employees after their pilot program demonstrated an annual savings of $2,000 per employee-year.

Any employer, including the government, will save money and improve productivity in the long run by enabling obese employees to have life-saving weight-loss surgery. This is a not a liberal or a conservative issue; it is a commonsense investment in people.

Arthur B. Chasen, M.D.

Evans

Comments (15) Add comment
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johnston.cliff
2
Points
johnston.cliff 09/04/10 - 06:28 am
0
0
It's the only solution to any

It's the only solution to any problem ........ more government at taxpayer expense. U T O P I A !!!!

dashiel
176
Points
dashiel 09/04/10 - 08:20 am
0
0
Since I got my new Medicare

Since I got my new Medicare go-cart I can beat everybody to the all-you-can eat buffet trough. Plus you get free collision.

Taylor B
5
Points
Taylor B 09/04/10 - 08:24 am
0
0
Medicare go-cart! LOL, dash!

Medicare go-cart! LOL, dash!

edwardc
1
Points
edwardc 09/04/10 - 08:34 am
0
0
Sometimes I wonder if a

Sometimes I wonder if a nutritional deficiency causes people to overeat, in a vain attempt to get the nutrients their body lacks. Junk fund generally has little nutrition; people who eat a lot of that are probably "starving" all the time, nutritionally speaking. Therefore, they eat more. We did not have an obesity problem in this country before the invention of junk food.

getalife
4
Points
getalife 09/04/10 - 09:14 am
0
0
This surgery does not always

This surgery does not always work. I have several friends that have had the surgery and they have gained their weight back and a couple are even larger than before the surgery. Some people cannot stop eating. I stopped going to the Golden Coral (I call it the Golden Trough) because of seeing big people eating plate after plate of food.

lsmith
105
Points
lsmith 09/04/10 - 01:16 pm
0
0
I wonder how much business
Unpublished

I wonder how much business this Doctor does in the weight loss surgery field?
No mention has been made here to compare sensible weight loss dietary programs performed under professional conditions and paid for under their health insurance programs. With over 200 million Americans overweight or obese it's obvious costly surgery is NOT the answer. It would bankrupt the industry.

I agree with Dashiel with the medicare go-carts. It's become a whole new industry......and if you believe the hype, "totally free or we pay the bill".....

I'm handicapped and find when I go to the store, particularly Walmart all of the handicap carts are usually in use, and by whom? Once inside you see nothing but 400 pound fat people riding around on them. And guess where they're hanging out? Yep, you guessed it, in the food department. Handicap buggy basket full and a kid in tow with another cart on it's way to being filled. So many times I want to put my finger in their face and tell them to get off that cart and "walk that lard off".

corgimom
26208
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corgimom 09/04/10 - 01:34 pm
0
0
For a person to qualify, they

For a person to qualify, they must be morbidly obese- over 100 pounds overweight.

It's a very dangerous surgery; a North Augusta woman, Darlene Fowler, had it done several years ago and died the next day.

It's a true illness; nobody ever chooses extreme obesity.

corgimom
26208
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corgimom 09/04/10 - 01:36 pm
0
0
Getalife, my ex was like

Getalife, my ex was like that. It was sickening to watch him there- he would fill plate after plate, heaping it as high as he could, and would just eat and eat and eat. He would fill plate after plate- I don't think he even tasted the food.

I refused to go there with him- gluttony is not attractive.

Boogaloo
1
Points
Boogaloo 09/04/10 - 02:56 pm
0
0
Sometimes the sound of

Sometimes the sound of chewing can block out the constant drone of an annoying dinner companion.

Techfan
6461
Points
Techfan 09/04/10 - 04:51 pm
0
0
Let's check the lifestyle of

Let's check the lifestyle of everyone before we allow them treatment or surgery. Broken leg, shouldn't have been riding that motorcycle, 4-wheeler, skateboarding, going 10 mph over the speed limit. Heart disease requiring surgery, shouldn't have eaten that cube steak and gravy, fried okra or chicken. Lung disease, shouldn't have lived near that plant spewing pollution. Cancer, shouln't have smoked, lived near or worked at that nuclear plant. Think of the money we could save on heathcare! Of course, most people would be refused treatment, including a lot of the posters against the LTE.

CJH
48
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CJH 09/04/10 - 09:14 pm
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I had gastric bypass several

I had gastric bypass several years ago and it has given me the tool I need to take my life back. Nothing has changed except that people treat me better because I look “normal” now. Contrary to what you might think, it is VERY hard work! Bariatric surgery is not the answer to a failed diet; it’s the answer to a disease process that steals lives. The ignorance displayed in some of the posts here is quite sad. The next time you have a relative or someone you love being slowly consumed by a debilitating disease and you pray to God for guidance and support, I hope you will remember the ignorance you have displayed here today. Compassion is a far better sleep-aid than hate.

Summerjade
20
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Summerjade 09/05/10 - 12:31 pm
0
0
Being over weight for

Being over weight for practically most of my life I can honestly say that weight loss surgery saved my life.

I had for years tried to exercise and eat better on my own but I could NOT keep the weight off. I would repeatedly lose and regain my weight. I could physically feel myself dying and I had to do something. I had come to a cross road in my life. It was time to make some drastic changes. I am so glad I had enough courage to go through with the process and do what was right for myself and family. I have NO regrets.

I will always be grateful for Dr. Blaney and Dr. Chasen at Midtown Surgical and for his caring staff. They are both a God send for patients such as myself. They provide a valuable service to the community.

It’s a shame the negative comments people have posted about these patients and about these caring Doctors who have helped people get their life back.

There will come a day when you may need a little compassion. Lets hope someone shows you the same courtesy.

armwrench
0
Points
armwrench 09/06/10 - 04:09 pm
0
0
WOW! It totally amazes me how

WOW! It totally amazes me how uninformed people can really be when it comes to this issue. Before a person is approved for this type of surgery they qualify. Part of qualifying is that you must have tried several diet and exercise programs, primary care doctor must refer you, go thru seminars, nutritionist, psychological questioner and interview and a scope of your stomach. People who make this decision as I did back in June to get lap-banded have a lot of information first and do not take it lightly. I have always been heavy all my life even has a child and done diet and exercise programs and I have lost weight in the past, but I have always gained it back. I needed to do this to be healthy and stay around for my children and you can judge if you like, but I will ALWAYS be grateful for Dr. Chasen and his staff. I have begun the road to getting healthy and for the first time in my life I am severe obese instead of morbid obese. Thank you Dr. C!

Lifeisgood1
0
Points
Lifeisgood1 09/06/10 - 04:37 pm
0
0
Like some of the others that

Like some of the others that have shared here, I had gastric bypass with Dr. Blaney. I have not regained my weight; wear a size 8, down from a size 26. I tried every diet out there before getting desparate enough for the surgery. Seems like everyone has "heard" about someone who died from the surgery. Dr. Blaney has performed hundreds of surgeries and has not suffered even ONE patient death. It is just not the scary surgery it was 20 years ago. It has advanced ten-fold and it has changed my life. Most people who have the surgery have insurance and pay their part. I don't know of anyone who got it for free. I have one friend who paid for the entire surgery herself though because her insurance wouldn't pay. And she'd do it again. We eat healthy, we exercise, now that we don't have hundreds of extra pounds to haul around, yeah, life is good!

At-A-Loss
0
Points
At-A-Loss 09/06/10 - 10:14 pm
0
0
It is such a shame to me that

It is such a shame to me that obesity is still considered the fault of the person who has it and is not understood to be a disease. I have personally never blamed someone for having cancer, even when it was believed to have been caused by smoking. Whether the surgery is paid for by insurance or privately, I believe the statistics will show that a healthier person in the long-run costs less to the public at large. For someone who suffers from a disease that needs to be treated surgically, why should anyone be denied that surgery, especially for cost and especially when it will alleviate health care costs in the future? It seems pretty logical to me. I have never been one who minded paying my fair share of taxes, no matter how high I may think they are, and I am more than happy to be paying for someone's surgery to make them a healthier person than I am to be paying for someone who doesn't want to work for whatever reason and have me foot the bill so that they can eat.

foodmizer
0
Points
foodmizer 09/17/10 - 11:47 am
0
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OOPs Lifeisgood1 looks like

OOPs Lifeisgood1 looks like you may have gotten your facts wrong.

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