Current Status of the Treat and Reduce Obesity Act:
The Treat and Reduce Obesity Act (H.R. 1530/S.595), a bill that Congress has been considering for nearly a decade, currently has Congressional support from 185 co-sponsors in the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate (House-168, Senate-17). This is great news and reflects very strong support! However, despite the momentum the bill has gained throughout the years, the Treat and Reduce Obesity Act (commonly known as TROA) has yet to come up for a committee or floor vote since it was first introduced in 2013.
If you aren’t familiar with TROA, it is a bipartisan bill that will give older Americans with Medicare coverage greater access to obesity healthcare services, treatments and providers. Specifically, the bill will expand Medicare coverage to include:
- FDA-approved prescription medications for chronic weight management
- Intensive-behavioral counseling services
Why is TROA Taking So Long?
The OAC has supported passing TROA from the beginning, and our members have persisted with us in this fight to improve access to obesity care. So, why has the bill not yet passed, and what’s standing in the way of it crossing the finish line?
The primary sponsors of TROA in both the House and Senate have worked extremely hard to grow support for the bill and help others see the critical need for available obesity treatments. Unfortunately, Congress as a whole has not yet been willing to take on the issue of making sure patients have access to comprehensive obesity care.
Much of this resistance comes from a lack of understanding about obesity due to weight stigma. Some policy makers are afraid it will be too expensive to give millions of Americans access to obesity care, not realizing that unaddressed obesity can lead to other serious chronic and costly health conditions. Others still think the answer is to “eat less, move more” or that people with obesity “do it to themselves.”
COVID-19: An URGENT Reason to Act Now
Now more than ever, we need a rallying cry for passing TROA and convincing policymakers that access to obesity care is important and valuable. Our country is facing a crisis with Coronavirus (COVID-19), and data has shown that obesity is the second greatest risk factor, only after old age, for severe illness or even death. Thankfully, those who do support TROA in the House and Senate have helped organize a group of 44 members of Congress to write a letter to Congressional leadership which urges Congress to include the provisions of TROA in any future legislation for pandemic relief.
Access to obesity care, like what is supported in the Treat and Reduce Obesity Act, can help save millions of American lives from the threat of COVID-19.
How You Can Help:
The OAC needs you to help us grow support for TROA, either as a freestanding bill or part of future pandemic relief legislation. You can help by visiting the OAC Action Center to send an automated letter to your state legislators, which you can customize, that urges them to support TROA by including its provisions in future COVID-19 relief packages. CLICK HERE to get started!