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HECCD Statement on Ways & Means Markup of the Treat and Reduce Obesity Act

We applaud Congressman Brad Wenstrup (R-OH), and Congresswoman Gwen Moore (D-WI) for their tireless work on the Treat and Reduce Obesity Act and their dedication to ensuring patients with obesity receive access to care. We support the Ways & Means Committee’s revised legislation to allow individuals to maintain their treatment for obesity without being denied access to lifesaving treatments when enrolling in Medicare. This is an important first step towards our goal of ensuring all Medicare beneficiaries with the disease of obesity have access to the fulsome treatment options.

The Health Equity Coalition for Chronic Disease has been dedicated to expanding Medicare access to obesity treatment due to the disproportionate impacts of obesity on communities of color and the devastation these impacts cause. Nearly half of all Black and Latino adults live with obesity, putting them at higher risk for conditions such as diabetes, cancer, heart attack and stroke, and creating an excess financial and physical burden. Without tangible steps forward these communities will continue to suffer as gaps in access exacerbate pre-existing racial and socioeconomic inequalities.

For 11 years, TROA has been introduced on a bipartisan basis. It is long past time for legislative action on this bill. We hope the Ways and Means committee will move swiftly to advance this bill and will continue to work to expand access to behavioral supports and pharmacotherapies for all Medicare beneficiaries. We look forward to working with lawmakers to pave the way for Medicare’s full coverage of anti-obesity medications.

“This action by the Ways and Means Committee is truly significant. TROA has had bipartisan support in Congress for over ten years yet no Committee in the House or Senate has acted on this bill. During this decade of inaction, the epidemic of obesity has grown with almost half of Black and Latino adults suffering from obesity. We support the Committee’s work and will not stop fighting until all Medicare beneficiaries have access to the complete continuum of obesity care.”

Dr. Elena Rios,
President, National Hispanic Health Foundation
Chair, Health Equity Coalition for Chronic Disease

Health Equity Coalition for Chronic Disease

The mission of the Health Equity Coalition for Chronic Disease is to ensure that community experts, policy makers, providers, and other stakeholders work together to eliminate barriers to healthcare for communities of color, especially as related to access to care and treatment for obesity and other chronic diseases.

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