CNN News recently ran a story about the cosmetic rider that is included in the Buffalo, New York school teacher union health insurance contract. It noted that the "nip and tuck" benefit has cost Buffalo's citizens as much as nine million dollars a year in taxes.
On the face of it, this certainly seems a bit absurd. There are no other large school systems known to offer such a lavish benefit, and no insult intended, but Buffalo is no Beverly Hills.
But as Paul Harvey used to say, "now for the rest of the story."
It seems that beginning sometime in the late 1990's, Buffalo school administrators began to get overwhelmed with student complaints about the excessively ectomorphic body form of their teachers. At first, school officials thought this was some kind of student ploy to gain attention to other issues that had been in contention in the district. Then, "the article" was published.
A study by a researcher from the University of Michigan was published in Scientific American. In it, he found that water from the Great Lakes, and particularly from the Niagara River and Lake Ontario, had a surprisingly high level of TCC, or total carbohydrate carbon.
With this data in hand, he pursued a hunch and collected public health data from cities bordering these waters, as well as from a number of inland "control" cities in nearby areas of New York State. The results were irrefutable. Persons who consume more than three glasses per day of water a day drawn from the water sources at issue were found to have a statistically significant higher chance of being obese when compared to those who drank water from the other nearby sources. This was particularly true for females.
A Buffalo airport patron from Dallas who was visiting for the first time was not surprised when he was informed of the local water/weight association. "The women here are fat and they don't seem to care how they present themselves in public" he said.
That airport patron's observation is certainly blunt, but it may have merit. After all, it is reasonable to assume that the water-related obesity problem is not limited to school teachers.
The public water service available to the schools provides the same water to all of Buffalo's residents. Nonetheless, armed with the study data, the teacher union fought fiercely for their demand for the cosmetic surgery insurance rider. The School Board soon caved in to the union's demand, and the rest is history.
One critic claimed that the Board's decision was tainted by the fact the new rider would eventually make its way into administrator contracts. He said school board members have been incensed ever since the Buffalo News ran a headline declaring "Board Members Turn Ugly," and that they apparently hope to rectify that malady.
In response to recent national attention, the Buffalo school superintendent recently declared that the cosmetic rider is actually a preventative health care measure. He noted that teachers and staff have collectively lost over 48000 pounds since the rider went into effect about eight years ago, and that they are now healthier than ever.
He speculated that the taxpayer has saved untold dollars in medications and treatments that would otherwise be needed. Perhaps "lost" is not the best possible description for the weight at issue, since it could likely be found in the nearby toxic waste (Love Canal) landfill for surgical waste.
When asked what demand might come next, teacher union representative Igivit Knightly declared "free condoms and birth control pills for all students, teachers, and staff."
Rush Limbaugh was not available for comment.