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August 4, 2016

Obesity Coverage Update from the 2016 Presidential Conventions

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This obesity coverage update is a special guest column by Obesity Medicine Association president, Dr. Deborah Horn who participated at the 2016 Presidential Conventions.

U.S. politics have been front and center in the news the past two weeks with the Democratic and Republican conventions taking place. Obesity coverage was a hot topic. President-elect Dr. Wendy Scinta, Obesity Treatment Foundation secretary/treasurer Dr. Amy Articolo, and I represented the Obesity Medicine Association at the Obesity Care Advocacy Network luncheon briefings for both parties, hosted by Novo Nordisk.

Delegates, staffers, representatives, senators, and press were invited to the briefings, where celebrities Tim Daly and Elizabeth Banks were also in attendance. We helped the audience understand the state of obesity coverage. A tremendous panel of experts, including policy makers, military officials, obesity medicine specialists, patients, and employer experts answered audience questions. The goal was simple: To spread the word that obesity is a disease, U.S. citizens deserve treatment, and the Treat and Reduce Obesity Act can help get us there.

The Treat and Reduce Obesity Act currently has 160 co-sponsors in the House of Representatives and 12 in the Senate. If passed, it will expand Medicare Part D obesity coverage to include anti-obesity medications and non-primary care physician visits, which includes visits to obesity medicine specialists.

The response was tremendous! We CAN and WILL eventually get obesity coverage and care for our patients. OMA recognizes the importance of collaboration in this endeavor, and we thank all our Obesity Care Advocacy Network Partners who were represented at the luncheons: AACE, ASMBS, Endocrine Society, OAC, TOS, and Novo Nordisk.