Prepared by Christopher Gallagher, OCC Washington Representative
Obesity Advocates Target Virginia & Michigan for TROA Support
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 S. 596/HR 1577, the Treat and Reduce Obesity Act (TROA) in the Senate and House, respectively. Following the drop of the bill, Obesity Care Continuum (OCC) member groups have been continuously meeting with congressional staff of House and Senate members who were supporters of TROA in the previous Congress.
On July 16th and 19th, advocates met with congressional staff from the Virginia and Michigan congressional delegations, respectively, as part of the Obesity Medicine Association’s monthly advocacy day program. OMA Washington Representative Chris Gallagher met with the offices of Representatives Cline (R-VA), Scott (D-VA) and Wexton (D-VA) while OMA Advocacy Committee member Dr. Lauren Oshman visited with 5 offices from the Michigan delegation, including Senators Stabenow (D-MI) and Peters (D-MI). To date, we have met with over 170 offices and these efforts continue to grow cosponsorship for the bill — now with 15 cosponsors in the Senate and 75 in the House!
OCAN Leaders Meet with CMS Part D Coverage Group
On July 23, 2021, OCAN leaders, including TOS President-Elect Dr. Daniel Bessesen and TOS Policy and Advocacy Committee Chair Dr. Scott Butsch called on the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to take administrative action to implement the policy provisions of the Treat and Reduce Obesity Act. The July 23rd meeting was the second meeting with CMS in a month’s time with the focus on Part D coverage of FDA-approved obesity drugs. While staff were sympathetic to our calls for coverage, they continue to indicate that the agency’s hands are tied because of the current Medicare statutory language “prohibiting coverage of drugs for weight loss.”