Speed Reads

that's nice

Top Buttigieg donor pushed for federal weight-loss program called 'Cash for Fatties'

This is one donor-promoted idea South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg might want to overlook.

Wendy Wanderman is an entertainment executive who has given at least $25,000 to Buttigieg's presidential run, according to the campaign's list of top "bundlers" who've raised at least that total. She also envisioned a federal weight loss program that she called "Cash for Fatties" in a HuffPost blog entry about a decade ago, Hanna Trudo first reported for The Daily Beast.

In the post from Sept. 2009, Wanderman dreams up a successor for the "Cash for Clunkers" program that paid Americans for trading in old cars for new, fuel-efficient onces. "Cash for Fatties," she says, would be "a program in which people are paid to lose weight." People determined to be "heavily overweight" would enroll in a weight loss course like Weight Watchers, which the government would pay for, Wanderman writes. If they "lose a significant amount of weight," the government would "pay you a fee." If they "keep the weight off after 6 months or a year," they'll get more money.

The idea of the crudely named program is to "guarantee medical costs will drop for these individuals," Wanderman writes. That's because, as Wanderman guesses, "people in the thinner and mostly bluer states are paying for the healthcare costs" of overweight people, who are largely in "Republican red states." Wanderman draws her assumptions from a 2009 study that showed the states with higher percentages of obese people tend to be Republican-leaning. Her insensitive name suggestion, however, seems to be 100 percent original.