Momentum! TROA Passed in House Ways and Means

With a bipartisan a vote of 36-4 yesterday, the House Ways and Means Committee passed an amended version of TROA – the Treat and Reduce Obesity Act. Honestly, after a decade of toiling away to educate legislators about the need for this, we need a pinch to assure ourselves it’s real. This is great  news – truly a big deal.

Scaled Back

Of course, it’s not all sunshine and lollipops. The Pink Sheet described the amended bill as “significantly scaled back,” saying it “would cover obesity drugs for only a sliver of new Medicare enrollees.” They are describing a chairman’s amendment that would limit coverage to new Medicare enrollees who were already taking one of these drugs for obesity for a year before they came into the program.

The Obesity Care Advocacy Network acknowledged this limitation, but nonetheless expressed pleasure at this progress:

“OCAN has worked tirelessly to ensure that Medicare beneficiaries with the disease of obesity have access to comprehensive treatment options. While we understand the need for limiting the scope of the legislation to address committee concerns regarding a potential prohibitive Congressional Budget Office score, we will continue to work towards increased access to comprehensive care for all persons living with the disease of obesity.”

The Road Ahead

The news that TROA was passed by Ways and Means is big progress we can celebrate. It puts us farther down the road to opening up access for obesity care that we have ever been. But of course, there is still a long road ahead. It will need to pass the full House and also the Senate. But we will take it as it comes.

This is a big year for progress on access to obesity care. Earlier this year, CMS opened to door to covering semaglutide for obesity in Medicare patients with heart disease. We expect that indications for people with other complications of obesity will continue this painfully slow trend for better access.

But progress is progress and we are celebrating.

Click here, here, here, and here for further perspective.

The Big Wheel, painting by Marc Chagall / WikiArt

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June 28, 2024

2 Responses to “Momentum! TROA Passed in House Ways and Means”

  1. June 28, 2024 at 9:39 am, Allen Browne said:

    Yup! “Progress is progress!”


  2. July 04, 2024 at 9:07 am, Val said:

    Slow progress for adults…children with obesity continue to struggle with very limited access to lifesaving treatments while prevalence of severe obesity in our youngest of children increases.