Leading organizations throughout the country working to fight the burden of obesity announced their support of the introduction of the Treat and Reduce Obesity Act (TROA) of 2015. Representatives of the obesity community particularly applauded the efforts of Senators Carper (D-DE), Cassidy (R-LA), Coons (D-DE), Grassley (R-IA) Heinrich (D-NM), and Murkowski (R-AK) and Representatives Kind (D-WI), and Paulsen (R-MN) in their support and sponsoring of the bill.
The House introduced its version of the Act on May 18th, while the Senate’s was introduced on June 4th, and the organizations believe the new legislation will help obese patients have wider access to treatment through Medicare, particularly overweight and obese seniors. In addition, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) will also gain authority to extend the benefits offered by Medicare, including intensive behavioral counseling through additional types of healthcare providers.
“The Treat and Reduce Obesity Act of 2015 will provide Medicare recipients and their healthcare providers with meaningful tools to treat and reduce obesity by improving access to obesity screening and counseling services, and new prescription drugs for chronic weight management,” said Obesity Action Coalition president and CEO, Joe Nadglowski. “Studies suggest that even a 5-10 percent weight-loss produces clinically significant reductions in risk factors for chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and others.”
In addition to the extended benefits for Medicare beneficiaries expected to help numerous overweight and obese patients, TROA will also allow the CMS to expand Medicare Part D to offer coverage of prescription drugs already approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to address chronic weight management.
Sponsorship of TROA was initiated in 2013 during the 113th Congress, and the new law was immediately supported by both parties. Despite the support that was extended to the House and the Senate, gathering 121 co-sponsors, the legislation did not pass beyond the committee level. Last year, the legislation gained attention again and the obesity-related organizations are now raising awareness about it through the TROA Coalition.
Obesity is a health problem that has gained increased focus over the past few years in the country. In 2008, a law was also implemented in Los Angeles, California that limits the opening or expansion of stand-alone restaurants of fast-food in the region of Los Angeles, but a recent study demonstrated that the measure was ineffective in restraining the levels of obesity or in improving diets among the residents.