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January 9, 2018

January 2018 OCC Advocacy News

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January 2018 Newsletter of the Obesity Care Continuum (OCC)
Prepared by Christopher Gallagher, OCC Washington Coordinator

Register Today for OCAN Second Annual Advocacy Day: February 27, 2018

On Tuesday, February 27, 2018, the Obesity Care Advocacy Network (OCAN) will host its second annual advocacy day to encourage legislators to support the Treat and Reduce Obesity Act (TROA). Advocates will meet with Capitol Hill staff between 9:00 AM and 3:30 PM with a lunch briefing for congressional staff sandwiched in between. The day will end with a 4:00-6:00 PM PAC reception to honor a Senator or Representative who has championed efforts to promote access to obesity treatment services.

Prior to the advocacy day, registrants will receive a number of briefing materials and will be able to participate in a special webinar highlighting the arguments surrounding the need for TROA and better coverage of science-based obesity treatment services in general. We encourage all OMA members to participate in this event so that OCAN has a broad representation of patients, researchers, and health care professionals on the Hill on the same day.

Click here to register for the February 27 OCAN advocacy day through the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ (AND) website. Individuals that do not currently have a login for the AND website must register as a “New Visitor Registration.” Contact AND’s Senior Manager of Grassroots and State Government Advocacy, Tenásha Williams-Ebrahimkhel, MPA, at with questions.

Register Now

Delaware Medicaid Program to Cover Obesity Treatment Visits Beginning in 2019

Starting in January 2019, the Delaware Division of Medicaid and Medical Assistance (DMMA) will provide coverage for at least 12 visits with a health care professional per year to support healthy weight for Medicaid beneficiaries with a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or higher. Individuals with a BMI of 25 or higher and specific cardiovascular health risks, and children with at-risk BMIs, will also be offered visits with health care professionals. Further support will be provided for eligible individuals to access community-based programs focused on obesity prevention and treatment.

The Delaware DMMA is one of nine founding members of My Healthy Weight, a national initiative targeted to fight obesity. This concept was developed by the Alliance for a Healthier Generation and the Bipartisan Policy Center. For more information about My Healthy Weight and other participating groups, click here.

New Tax Law Eliminates ACA Individual Mandate in 2019

On December 22, 2017, President Trump signed into law the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which includes language that eliminates the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) individual mandate effective January 1, 2019. The Congressional Budget Office projects the change will increase insurance premiums and lead to 13 million fewer Americans with insurance in a decade, while also cutting government spending by more than $300 billion over that period. While repealing the individual mandate will raise the number of uninsured across the country, it’s important to note that many critical ACA patient protections regarding pre-existing conditions, essential health benefits, and annual or lifetime limits on coverage remain intact. OCC will continue to advocate for maintaining these key protections.

Senate Finance Committee HHS Nomination Hearing on Azar

On January 9, 2018, the Senate Finance Committee will hold a hearing to approve President Trump’s nominee, Alex Azar, to be Secretary of the Department of Health & Human Services (HHS). Azar is the former President of Lilly USA, LLC, the largest affiliate of global biopharmaceutical leader Eli Lilly and Company. Prior to his time at Lilly USA, Azar served during the George W. Bush administration as Deputy Secretary and General Counsel at HHS under former Secretary Mike Levitt.

Senator Orrin Hatch Announces Retirement Plans

On January 2, 2018, Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) announced that he will not seek re-election and will retire at the end of the year. The announcement puts into question who will replace Hatch as Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee in the next Congress. In terms of seniority, Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA) would be next in line for the gavel — although he would have to give up his Chairmanship of the Senate Judiciary Committee. If Grassley passes on leading the Finance Committee, then Senator Mike Crapo (R-ID) could become Chairman.

January 2018 Newsletter of the Obesity Care Continuum (OCC)