Prepared by Christopher Gallagher, OCC Washington Representative
OCC Members Grow TROA Cosponsors During March!
In early March, Senators Tom Carper (D-DE) and Bill Cassidy (R-LA) and Representatives Ron Kind (D-WI), Tom Reed (R-NY), Raul Ruiz (D-CA) and Brad Wenstrup (R-OH) introduced the Treat and Reduce Obesity Act (TROA) in the Senate and House, respectively. Following the drop of the bill, Obesity Care Continuum member groups blanketed Capitol Hill via ZOOM during March and now TROA has 14 cosponsors in the Senate and more than 30 in the House.
Following the Obesity Care Week blitz of congressional offices in early March, OMA Advocacy Committee members participated in a number of state-specific advocacy days targeting former TROA cosponsors in Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia and Wisconsin.
OCAN Hosts Briefing on Obesity Care, COVID-19 and Communities of Color
In addition to the virtual advocacy days, OCAN hosted a virtual Congressional Briefing on Friday, March 5th, entitled, “Obesity Care, COVID-19 and Communities of Color.” The forum focused on the importance of the obesity continuum of care, how these approaches can address the ties between obesity and COVID-19, and the disproportionate impact on communities of color.
OCAN Leaders Meet with TROA Champions on Next Steps
On April 1st, OCAN leaders also met with key congressional staff of the TROA champions to brainstorm on increasing activity surrounding the legislation — including prospects for additional outreach to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to implement TROA through administrative means. Efforts are currently underway on a congressional sign-on letter to CMS surrounding this angle.
Support Coverage of Bariatric Surgery and FDA-Approved Obesity Drugs in Connecticut Health Plans: Contact Key Legislators Today!
Connecticut State Senators Eric Berthel (R-32) and Saud Anwar (D-3) have joined with State Representatives Bobby G. Gibson (D-15) and Tom Delnicki (R-14) in cosponsoring legislation (SB-1007), which calls for the State Medicaid program and all private health insurance plans in Connecticut to provide robust coverage for metabolic and bariatric surgery and FDA approved obesity drugs.
They are looking for Connecticut patients and healthcare professionals to voice their support for their legislation – especially now that the bill has been unanimously approved by the Joint Committee on Insurance and Real Estate. OCC advocates in Connecticut testified in support of the legislation during a March 18th hearing of the committee, including an oral statement from the Obesity Action Coalition (OAC).
Help us reach out to these key legislators in the Connecticut General Assembly! If you have a Connecticut address, please access the Obesity Action Coalition’s Action Center to send a pre-prepared message to your state senator and representative in support of SB 1007.