OAC Community Perspectives:
by Melinda Watman, BSN, MSN, CNM, MBA
BILL: MA HOUSE No. 1999
Greetings to all. I had an exciting and important experience recently. I was asked to testify in support of House Bill No. 1999 which is an Act to:
- Establish a task force on the impact of obesity
- Establish a pilot program to provide coverage for the assessment, identification, treatment and management of obesity and related conditions – including medications and counseling.
Obesity Care Coverage in MA
Obesity in MA, like most places in the U.S., plays a significant role in the overall health of the state. The total cost of obesity to MA is $33.5 billion, ranking the state as 41/51 in states impacted by obesity. So clearly, a pilot to better understand how treatments impact the rate of obesity and general health of the community is significant. That’s why I got involved.
To support this effort, I testified in support of the Bill. Why is this important?
Legislators are interested in public opinion. They are interested in personal stories. Telling those stories has an impact on their decision making. Taking this into consideration, I began with “I have obesity.”
For those of you who don’t know me, this fact isn’t evident just by looking at me — which was my point. I pointed out how difficult it is for so many patients to access healthcare and that my treatment was done from out-of-pocket expenses. I was in the minority to have the necessary resources available to me, which leaves most people with either limited treatment or no treatment at all.
Creating a pilot to improve access to care would be an important step in understanding the impact of treatment for and prevention of obesity. I also spoke about the Obesity Action Coalition (OAC) and our commitment to supporting legislation that improves the health of those affected by obesity.
How You Can Help:
You too can also testify in support of helpful legislation, even regarding obesity care coverage. I encourage you to learn what is happening in your own state legislature. Get in touch with your legislators to learn about what bills are coming up for committee hearings and offer to testify either for or against. If you are unsure about a particular bill or want help during the process, the OAC is always available! Become an advocate for yourself and others.
To contact the OAC for support in regards to obesity legislation, email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
For a list of ways you can help the OAC improve access to care, visit the OAC Action Center.