Politics

‘Cash For Fatties’: Top Buttigieg Bundler Once Pushed Program Paying People To Lose Weight

(Scott Olson/Getty Images)

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Mary Margaret Olohan Social Issues Reporter
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A top bundler for 2020 presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg once pushed a “Cash for Fatties” program that would pay people to lose weight.

Wendy Wanderman, who has raised at least $25,000 for Buttigieg’s presidential campaign, proposed a government program in 2009 that would target “Republican red states,” the Daily Beast reports. Wanderman also served on the National Finance Committee for former President Barack Obama.

“We’ve seen the success of the Cash for Clunkers program,” Wanderman wrote in an article posted by HuffPost Sept. 3, 2009. “I’d like to see the administration go forward with a program called Cash for Fatties.”(RELATED: FLASHBACK: Buttigieg Said The Founding Fathers ‘Did Not Understand That Slavery Was A Bad Thing’)

Wanderman cited a report from the Trust for America’s Health (TFAH) and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) that found that the five states with the highest percentages of overweight people were Republican states. Wanderman wrote that “people in the thinner and mostly bluer states are paying for the healthcare costs of all of the uninsured and Medicare covered individuals in these red states.”

SOUTH BEND, INDIANA - APRIL 14: South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg greets guests after announcing that he will be seeking the Democratic nomination for president during a rally in the old Studebaker car factory on April 14, 2019 in South Bend, Indiana. Buttigieg has been drumming up support for his run during several recent campaign swings through Iowa, where he will be retuning to continue his campaign later this week. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg greets guests after announcing his run for president (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

“It’s no secret that the more overweight a person is, the greater likelihood that his/her medical costs increase,” Wanderman wrote. “Thus, the blue states in which we want a public option, are paying the costs of the red states where they oppose it.”

The Buttigieg donor explained that only “heavily overweight” people could register for the program, which she promised would drop medical costs for overweight individuals.

“If you enroll in a weight loss program like Weight Watchers, (the gov’t will pay for it whether you have health insurance or not) and lose a significant amount of weight, the gov’t will pay you a fee. If you keep the weight off after 6 months or a year, the gov’t will give you an additional payment.”

Neither Wanderman nor the Buttigieg campaign responded to requests for comment regarding “Cash for Fatties.”

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