Prepared by Christopher Gallagher, OCC Washington Representative
Support for TROA Nears 100!
In late August, congressional support for S. 596/HR 1577, the Treat and Reduce Obesity Act (TROA) grew to nearly 100 supporters when Representatives Dunn (R-FL), Sanchez (D-CA), Perlmutter (D-CO) and Blunt Rochester (D-DE) cosponsored the legislation. Currently, 16 Senators and 82 House members are on record supporting TROA!
OCC member groups are also working closely with the Obesity Care Advocacy Network (OCAN) to encourage congressional leadership and the relevant key healthcare committees to incorporate TROA into the “human infrastructure” legislation that Democrats are attempting to pass via the reconciliation process. OCAN is highlighting how TROA would be in line with other Medicare modernization provisions in the legislative framework for the package that would expand coverage for hearing, dental and vision care services.
OCAN Leaders Meet with Director of CMS’ Center for Medicare
On August 23, 2021, OCAN leaders met with Dr. Meena Seshamani, Deputy Administrator and Director of CMS’ Center for Medicare — again urging the agency to take administrative action to implement the policy provisions of the Treat and Reduce Obesity Act. The August 23rd meeting was the third discussion on this issue between CMS and OCAN this summer. While Dr. Seshamani and her 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.”
Georgia Reinstates Bariatric Surgery Coverage for State Employees!
On August 12, 2021, the Georgia Department of Community Health (DCH) voted to reinstate state employee coverage for bariatric surgery effective January 1, 2022! The State Health Benefit Plan impacts about 500,000 lives and covers state employees, teachers, public school employees, members of assembly, retirees, and their dependents. Special recognition goes to Dr. Renee Hilton and the ASMBS Georgia State Chapter who worked closely with Governor Brian Kemp (R) to implement this policy change administratively.