You might have heard the OAC talk about supporting – and trying to pass – the Treat and Reduce Obesity Act (TROA) many times in recent years. If you find yourself asking, “Why THIS again?” or “What’s taking so long for TROA to become a law?” there’s a fairly simple answer.
RECAP: TROA is a bipartisan bill that will expand insurance coverage for Medicare beneficiaries to include:
- Obesity screening
- Treatment from a diverse range of healthcare providers specializing in obesity care
- FDA-approved medications for chronic weight management.
TROA: A Lengthy Process
If you don’t already know, the legislative process is often a long one. In fact, for bills to pass and become laws, it’s not uncommon to take 10 or more years!
Here’s a brief glance at how bills just like TROA are cycled through Congress to be voted on:
- Introduction: A Bill is formally introduced into either house of Congress (Senate or House of Representatives) by a primary Sponsor.
- Committee: Representatives or Senators meet to research, talk about and make changes to the Bill. It is then accepted or rejected before it is sent to the House or Senate floor for debate or more research by a subcommittee.
- Congress Debates and Votes: The Bill is debated and then voted upon. If it receives the vote majority, it moves on to a similar process in the other house of Congress.
- Presidential Action: If the Bill is voted upon in both houses of Congress, it goes to the U.S. President to be approved or vetoed.
You can imagine how long it takes to talk about a Bill, research it and influence other legislators in both houses of Congress! That’s why informing and educating lawmakers about TROA, and adding your personal story to show its value, is such an important part of the process.
A History of TROA
The Treat and Reduce Obesity Act was first introduced in Congress via the Senate in 2012. Since then, it’s traveled through the traditional bill cycle and faced many challenges, as legislators have rotated and changed along the way.
Each year since its first introduction, TROA has gradually gained more cosponsors from both the Senate and House of Representatives – eventually reaching 163 total cosponsors from 2017 – 2018 in the 115th Congress. That means that more legislators are being made aware of its importance and how crucial it is to take obesity seriously!
Help TROA Build Momentum
All of the above information should show you why it has taken a long time to pass the Treat and Reduce Obesity Act through Congress, and the journey of this legislation isn’t over.
For right now, you can do your part by educating yourself on this crucial piece of legislation and sharing what you know with others in your personal networks.
There will soon be opportunities to directly help the OAC support TROA and influence legislators, but for now, just hang tight! Learn more: ObesityAction.org/TROA.