business news in context, analysis with attitude

Regarding the AFL-CIO's involvement in the Southern California grocery strike, MNB user Marysia McFann wrote:

The AFL CIO is not making a positive move toward ending this standoff. The tactics they are suggesting are nothing more than badgering and harassment. I can sympathize with a group of people who do not feel they are being treated fairly by their employer, but let's face the facts: health care costs are skyrocketing for EVERYONE across the country. Until something is done on a national level to curb these costs, we as individuals, have to look at what we are spending our health dollars on (weekend emergency room visits for a bad cold vs. going to see our doctor during the week.)

The low-carb movement was addressed by one member of the MNB community who asked to remain anonymous:

As a company. we were once on the forefront of Low-Fat in the late 80's-90's, primarily in salty snacks. A key difference between low-fat then, and low carb now, is that we, as a company, were shouldered with much of the expense of educating consumers (and the trade) about the benefits of low-fat (and that our product actually did taste good).

This time, consumer demand already exists and it is simply up to marketers to get quality products to market. Additionally, as a carb watcher myself, I know that carb-conscious consumers readily pay retail premiums of 50%, 100%, and more for reduced carb products. Though low-carb alternatives cost more to produce because of higher ingredient costs (and R&D), there certainly remains enough margin to offset launch costs of these products (if they are indeed good and will win consumer acceptance). Any product with low taste appeal and minimal return for the consumer will die an ugly death, as it should, and low carb is no exception.

Sure, the low fat wave peaked, but that space is still in the many billions $ annually, with salty snacks a hefty contributor. Expect the same from low carb. Why? While we started on strict Atkins protocol, we have simply evolved into a healthy diet trimming carbs wherever a decent alternative allows, but still enjoying a wide variety of sensible foods. Of course, OJ is still off the menu.

Continued discussion of the trend toward stomach stapling surgery, as one MNB user wrote:

Wow …. Insurance companies are now going to be paying for stomach stapling procedures to help reduce obesity ?? Gee … I wonder if that will have any impact on my future premiums or on the overall cost of health care insurance nationwide ?

Here we go again … live a life of excess, blame it on others ( food service providers ) and expect others to pay for the “fix”.

Insurance companies SHOULD NOT pony up the cash and foot the bill for this expense. The individual patient should. Maybe that will prove to be the “motivation” that they need after the surgery to stick with the plan and alter their lifestyle !!! ( i.e. “bummer , I can’t afford to buy that new video game player, so I can veg out on the couch, because I had to pay for this surgery” )

What’s next ? Perhaps insurance companies should pay for their yearly gym memberships and the government should help underwrite the cost of any low carb or nutritionally redeeming foods that they purchase.

Perhaps these “obese” victims should take the settlement monies that they receive from suing the national food providers for their problems and pay for their surgeries themselves.

Well the “bad news” is that I know I am daily surrounded by folks in our society that actually believe this is “okay”. “Good news” is that the above “rant” actually helped raise my pulse rate almost equal to that of a cardio workout. Gotta go now …thanks for the exercise :>).

MNB user Patty Bush chimed in with a highly personal account:

I myself was an overweight child, teen, and now adult. I have opted to have WLS (weight loss surgery), but chose a less invasive procedure. I had laproscopic banding of my stomach (LapBand). This is a procedure where a "band" is placed around the top of the stomach forming a small pouch. In essence, you eat less, but none of your anatomy is removed/rearranged, and the procedure is reversible if necessary.

Most people who've had any kind of WLS consider the surgery to be a tool for weight loss. There is definitely no magic bullet when it comes to losing weight. Any weight loss surgeon will tell you that. You still have to modify your eating habits and exercise. These surgeries are meant for people who are clinically morbidly obese, meaning a Body Mass Index of 40 or more, or over their ideal weight by 100+ pounds.

In the long run, its my opinion that it's cheaper for the insurance companies to cover this now then to have to cover claims from long term illnesses that can stem from being obese, like diabetes, asthma and heart disease. Many of the people I have met through WLS have stopped needing medications for their illnesses once they've started to lose weight.

In closing, I just like to say, until you've experienced being morbidly obese, you cannot judge how it happens to a person. We are all not couch potatoes.

And another MNB user wrote:

In reference to one readers comment on 1 in 3 people that he knew died from this surgery. This I am sure is true, but the actual rate of death is 1 in 200 surgeries. Still an appalling number, but accuracy is important to discussion of any subject, and more important in something as radical as this.
KC's View: