Super Moon Over the Capitol

Treat Obesity or Wait for Complications?

The Public Policy Workshop of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics convened Sunday in Washington and two of the top issues relate to the need to treat obesity as a matter of health, rather than simply wait for complications. Approximately 400 nutrition professionals from all over the country will be visiting their senators and representatives to advocate for two pieces of legislation:

  1. The Treat and Reduce Obesity Act. This act fixes two basic flaws in Medicare with respect to healthcare for people with obesity. Right now, Medicare can only pay for intensive support programs for obesity if they are delivered in a primary care practice. That means that experts in treating obesity — dietitians, clinical psychologists, and obesity medicine physicians — cannot directly deliver these services. Yet research shows that primary care physicians seldom even discuss obesity with their patients, let alone treat it. The Treat and Reduce Obesity Act will make it possible for qualified providers to deliver these services to people with obesity.
  2. The Preventive Health Savings Act. This act will permit the budgeting process to account for the savings that accrue over time from preventing health complications. At present, the Congressional Budget Office cannot account for such savings in assessing the cost of legislation. As a result, the budgeting process is driven by short-term cost considerations, while longer-term effects are ignored.

A panel of experts, including ConscienHealth Founder Ted Kyle, presented an overview Sunday of these two initiatives and the issues that prompted them.

Click here for Kyle’s presentation on the Treat and Reduce Obesity Act and here for more on these legislative priorities for the Academy’s Public Policy Week.

Super Moon Over the Capitol, photograph © The Q / flickr

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