January OCC Advocacy News

January 2019 Newsletter of the Obesity Care Continuum (OCC)
Prepared by Christopher Gallagher, OCC Washington Coordinator

116th Congress Opens Amidst Government Shutdown

On January 3, 2019, the 116th Congress was gaveled into session by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (DCA) — who was elected Speaker after democrats took control of the House following the 2018 mid-term elections. Top priority for Congress will be to negotiate a compromise spending package with President Trump to end a partial shutdown of the federal government.

While there will be minor changes to leadership on the key Senate healthcare committees, there will be a number of changes on the House side. In the Senate, Lamar Alexander (R-TN) will continue as Senate HELP Committee Chair while Chuck Grassley (R-IA) will retake the gavel of the Senate Finance Committee. On the House side, Frank Pallone (D-NJ) will now chair the House Energy & Commerce and the House Ways and Means Committee will be chaired by Richard Neal (D-MA).

Register for OCAN’s Winter Advocacy Day!

On Thursday, February 28, 2019, the Obesity Care Advocacy Network (OCAN) will host an Advocacy Day to encourage support for the Treat and Reduce Obesity Act (TROA), which will be reintroduced earlier that week. Attendees will meet with Capitol Hill staff between 9:00 AM and 3:30 PM and also have the opportunity to participate in a late afternoon Political Action Committee (PAC) reception to honor a Senator or Representative who has championed efforts to better promote patient access to, and coverage of, 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 that will highlight the arguments surrounding the need for passage of TROA and better coverage of science-based obesity treatment services in general. We encourage all OCAN organizations to support this advocacy event so that we may have a broad representation of patients, researchers and healthcare professionals on the Hill that day.

OCC STAR Program Kicks off with January 17th Webinar

The first conference call/webinar for all State Advocacy Representatives (STARs) from the Obesity Care Continuum groups (AND, OMA, TOS, ASMBS and OAC) will occur at 7:00 PM Eastern time on Thursday, January 17th. The webinar will allow STARs to discuss next steps surrounding advocacy priorities and how to coordinate an ongoing dialogue among their fellow STARs within their respective state.

Additionally, STARs will be briefed and receive materials to enable each OCC State STAR affiliate to request a face-to-face meeting with their Governor to educate them about the latest George Washington University/STOP Obesity Alliance study on the status of obesity coverage within Medicaid and state employee plans across the country.

PLEASE REGISTER FOR THE WEBINAR USING THE LINK BELOW:

Stay tuned for additional updates and materials leading up to the Webinar. Should you have any questions, please feel free to contact OCC Washington Coordinator Chris Gallagher at chris@potomaccurrents.com.

Register at the following link: https://tinyurl.com/yc32gdlu