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OAC welcomes House Committee decision for advancing the Treat and Reduce Obesity Act   

The Obesity Action Coalition (OAC) has welcomed the House Ways and Means Committee for favourably reporting an amended version of the Treat and Reduce Obesity Act (TROA) with a strong bipartisan vote of 36-4. This significant milestone reflects a commitment from key lawmakers in the House to expand access to obesity care for Medicare beneficiaries.

The amended version of the bill includes targeted changes to expand access to obesity medication coverage while managing costs. The new provisions limit the coverage of obesity medications to incoming Medicare beneficiaries who have been using these medications with prescription coverage in the year prior to joining Medicare.

Additionally, the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) is directed to update coverage for Intensive Behavioural Therapy (IBT) for obesity. These adjustments were essential to reducing the overall cost of the bill, a critical step in addressing the funding requirements for the increased cost to Medicare.

"Today's achievement marks an important first step in improving access to obesity care for Medicare beneficiaries," said Joe Nadglowski, President & CEO of the OAC. "We are encouraged by the bipartisan support and the commitment demonstrated by both sides of the aisle to expand coverage in the future. This significant milestone reflects our collective dedication to enhancing healthcare for people affected by the disease of obesity."

The OAC thanks the House Ways and Means Committee for prioritising care for people living with the disease of obesity. Allowing people who have coverage for obesity medications to keep their coverage when transitioning into Medicare is an essential first step toward expanding access to care for all Medicare recipients in the future.

"The bill is an important step forward to ensure that seniors in Medicare do not lose access to vital treatment and paves the way for future expanded coverage of these treatments in Medicare," original sponsor of HB 4818 Representative Brad Wenstrup (R-OH) said during the markup session. "Tackling obesity head-on can help prevent numerous additional diseases such as heart disease and diabetes and help keep Americans healthier for much longer. Not only a longer lifespan but a longer health span."

Representative Gwen Moore (D-WI) further remarked, "Why would we punish these folks and likely create a setback in their fight against obesity? And if I understand obesity – a fight that they have been having for some time. A fight for their lives."

The OAC believes that this is an important first step, and there will be ongoing opportunities to advocate for broader coverage as the bill progresses through the legislative process. The OAC remains dedicated to championing the needs of individuals affected by obesity and will continue to advocate for comprehensive coverage and access to obesity treatments for everyone affected by obesity. The OAC encourages its more than 85,000 members and supporters to stay engaged as we work toward successfully passing this critical legislation.


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