The American Gastroenterological Association (AGA) has announced support for the reintroduced Treat and Reduce Obesity Act (TROA), which would expand Medicare coverage to include screening and treatment of obesity from a diverse range of health care providers who specialise in obesity care. The bill also includes coverage of behavioural counselling, prescription drugs for long-term weight management and other prevention and treatment options.
"As gastroenterologists we see the chronic effects of obesity on patients' health in conditions like metabolic dysfunction-associated fatty liver disease, formerly nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, and gastroesophageal reflux disease. Expanding access and improving early intervention and treatment options will help patients overcome these diseases and live healthier lives," said Dr Rotonya Carr, Chair, AGA Government Affairs Committee. "Because many private insurance companies model their health benefits to reflect Medicare, the passage of TROA could lead to improved obesity care options for all Americans."
The Treat and Reduce Obesity Act of 2021 is a bi-partisan bill that was reintroduced into the 117th Congress by Senators Tom Carper (D-DE) and Bill Cassidy (R-LA) in the Senate and Representatives Ron Kind (D-WI), Tom Reed (R-NY), Raul Ruiz (D-CA) and Brad Wenstrup (R-OH-2) in the House, respectively. The bill would include coverage of FDA-approved medications for chronic weight management.
TROA was first introduced during the 113th Congressional session in 2013. It is a bill that has received support from both Republicans and Democrats. The bill was re-introduced in every subsequent Congress since the 113th.