For Extremely Obese, Surgery Can Shrink Costs As Well As Pants Size

Although weight-loss aiding gastric bypass and gastric band surgeries are expensive, they can save big bucks for not only those who undergo the procedures but, more importantly, taxpayers who fund costly fatty maintenance via Medicare.

A Las Vegas Sun story spotlights Vincent Daswell, who slashed his weight more than 100 pounds from his high of 380.

The story breaks down Daswell’s simultaneous slimming of body and budget:

• In the first five months of 2008, taxpayers provided Daswell with 17 medications for obesity-related health problems at a cost of $8,374.19.

• In the first five months of 2009, taxpayers provided Daswell with 13 medications for obesity-related health problems, many at reduced dosages, at a cost of $5,106.54.

It’s a simple measure, but shows a savings of $3,267.65 in the five months, a 39 percent reduction in expenses in drugs alone.

The surgery and first year of follow-up cost $16,000, but the story says that cost would be made up within two years by the reduced pharmaceutical bills alone. So if Obama is serious about health care reform he may as well subsidize free gastric bypass clinics at every Walgreens.

The hidden cost of obesity [Las Vegas Sun]
(Photo: Earth2Kim)