This May, the Obesity Action Coalition (OAC), along with 57 other signing organizations, delivered a letter to the Biden Administration urging the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to provide access to comprehensive obesity care. The OAC sign-on letter urges HHS and CMS to take three critical actions to ensure access to obesity care.

  1. Add obesity into the category of complex, chronic disease states under the National Strategy on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health guidelines.
  1. Provide Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage of obesity medications.
  1. Expand the type of qualified healthcare and community providers and evidence-based community programs that can deliver intensive behavioral therapy (IBT) under Medicare Part B.

Today, due to an outdated federal statute, the federal government does not cover obesity medications in the Medicare Part D prescription drug program. Additionally, Medicare Part B only allows certain healthcare providers to offer IBT for obesity, which means not all patients can get the help they need.

These rules are outdated because recent science shows obesity is a complex disease that requires new treatments and approaches to care.

Obesity is linked to major health issues such as heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and certain cancers, which are leading causes of preventable death in the U.S. It is predicted that half of the American population will live with obesity by 2030, which emphasizes the need to address obesity as the complex, multifactorial disease that it is. The federal government must recognize the scientific developments that have been made to treat obesity to improve health outcomes and reduce healthcare costs.

While we have made significant progress to bring new, FDA-approved obesity medications to the market for patients, the federal government – and CMS in particular – continues to apply an outdated interpretation of the federal law that excludes these treatments from Medicare coverage. This stance is increasingly indefensible, given the broad acknowledgment of obesity as a disease by numerous federal agencies.

To build on this effort, OAC has created a new advocacy action tool that empowers citizens to send a letter to government officials at HHS and CMS to ensure obesity medications are covered under Medicare. In a few clicks, you can send a letter to The White House, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to urge them to cover obesity medications under Medicare Part D and to allow more healthcare providers to offer intensive therapy (IBT) in Medicare Part B.

Together, these actions are helping us make progress to improve the lives of individuals affected by obesity and their families.

Send your letter today!