I think (not entirely sure) you might be the first person posting here who's had it funded? (If I've missed someone else, my bad!).
That's one thing I never understood when I got mine (self-funded) is that insurance was against paying for it because I wasn't dying or something, but then the costs of care later on would be ridiculous compared to the cost of surgery now... As you say above.
Just out of curiousity, what is the selection criteria? All I know is that they denied me back when I got my surgery, they just said my case was preventative, not dealing with problems of weight after the fact, so they wouldn't pay for it (insurance, that is... Nevermind public funding).
Congrats on the losses so far and hope the surgery recovery goes smoothly.
I don't know the exact ins and outs of it but SOS (Southern Obesity Surgery) in Chch got the contract to do 20 weightloss surgeries for the DHB this year on a trial and I got the call on 23rd December to let me know I was successful. I guess having Diabetes was a big factor but also taking into consideration my age, length of time with it and the lack of too many other complications means that losing weight for me will cure me of this disease. CURE.
I too have private health insurance and there was cover for WLS but only after so many year's standdown period and there were all sorts of conditions and parameters and even if they were all met, their contribution was only about $7,000. Paltry.
This country needs to wake up to this issue and I just hope that my success and the success of others on the trial makes a difference to the attitude of the govt.