Letter Writing Week – The Impact Advocacy Can Make

The OAC visited Capitol Hill last Friday to meet with legislators to spread the word about the importance of obesity care and treatment.

Numerous OAC National Board of Directors members and OAC staff members visited 20 U.S. Senators’ offices to educate on obesity treatments, and the importance of legislation that would provide for access to weight management tools for individuals affected by excess weight and obesity.

“I feel overall that the meetings were successful,” said OAC President and CEO Joe Nadglowski. “The OAC’s positive relationships with members of Congress and their staff were definitely on display during the meetings.”

The primary topics of the visits were obesity treatment coverage under Medicare, the Treat and Reduce Obesity Act, and the Senate Finance Committee’s Chronic Disease Working Group’s recent report on policy options for these diseases.

Nadglowski said most of the staff members the OAC spoke with were “cautiously optimistic” that the Senate would introduce legislation this year that addresses chronic diseases among Medicare recipients, and that this legislation would help at least partially with the OAC’s efforts to have obesity addressed by the Senate.

“Relationships with our elected officials and their staff are key in moving our agenda forward,” Nadglowski said. “We were fortunate that obesity was directly included in the Chronic Disease Working Group’s policy options, and the inclusion was all about the relationships we’ve created with the Senate Finance Committee.”

You too can impact how others view obesity, and build those relationships with the decision makers. You can help the OAC eliminate the weight bias associated with excess weight and obesity, and make sure that obesity is treated as a disease, allowing for increased access to safe and effective medical treatment — and you don’t have to be on Capitol Hill to do it.

Being an advocate for change can happen from anywhere at any time. Throughout the week, we’ll be sharing a series of open letters written by OAC members to individuals in their communities, such as their doctors or their local representatives in government.

In these letters, our members are asking for equal treatment and respect in their doctor’s office. They’re asking for their health insurance to cover treatments needed to combat the disease of obesity. They’re asking for the stigmatization often associated with obesity to be done away with. And more than anything, they’re asking for their voices to be heard.

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