March 4, 2021

Cassidy, Carper Reintroduce Bill to Combat Obesity with Medicare-funded Treatment Options

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA) and Tom Carper (D-DE), both members of the Senate Finance Committee, today reintroduced legislation to unleash federal Medicare dollars for treatments against obesity, a growing epidemic impacting an estimated 42 percent of Americans and costing the nation almost $150 billion in additional health care costs every year.

The Treat and Reduce Obesity Act (TROA) expands Medicare to cover evidence-based obesity treatment options by: (1) Allowing the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to expand Medicare Part D coverage to include FDA-approved anti-obesity medications; and (2) Expanding the Intensive Behavioral Therapy (IBT) benefit by allowing additional types of qualified healthcare providers to offer these services.

“Increased risk of COVID-19 complications highlights the need to treat obesity,” said Dr. Cassidy. “This bipartisan legislation expands Medicare coverage for therapy and medications to treat obesity and improve patient health.”

“The epidemic of obesity is hurting far too many families all across our country. The more than 40 percent of Americans who suffer from obesity are more vulnerable to conditions like diabetes, heart disease, various cancers and respiratory issues, which are even more dangerous during an unprecedented pandemic,” said Carper. “While the health challenges regarding obesity are significant for individuals, this epidemic is also straining our public health system, imperiling economic growth and threatening our military readiness. While we have made some progress towards combating this problem, we have a long way to go to improve treatment options and affordability. This bipartisan and common sense bill would finally unleash federal Medicare dollars towards obesity treatments needed to help millions of Americans lead longer and healthier lives.”

Joining as co-sponsors are Senators Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Chris Coons (D-DE), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), Joni Ernst (R-IA), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Kevin Cramer (R-ND) and Thom Tillis (R-NC).

The following organizations have endorsed TROA this year: Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, American Academy of PAs, American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists, American Association of Nurse Practitioners, American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, American Council on Excellence, American Gastroenterological Association, American Medical Group Association, American Psychological Association, American Society for Metabolic & Bariatric Surgery, Black Woman’s Health Imperative, Eisai, Endocrine Society, Global Liver Institute, Healthcare Leadership Council, MedTech Coalition for Metabolic Health, National Alliance of Healthcare Purchaser Coalitions, Novo Nordisk, Obesity Action Coalition, Obesity Medicine Association, SECA, Strategies to Overcome and Prevent (STOP) Obesity Alliance, The Obesity Society, Trust for America’s Health, WW International and YMCA of the USA. 

Full text of the bill can be found by clicking HERE.