During National Obesity Care Week, it is important to recognize obesity treatment challenges and work together to find solutions. We can’t afford inaction. Obesity is a chronic and life-threatening disease impacting nearly 40% of Ohioans. It’s linked to over 200 diseases and disorders, costs Americans $1.42 trillion every year, and it’s the second leading cause of preventable, premature death in America.
Nearly one-third of Medicare beneficiaries are affected by it and obesity-related complications cost Medicare $50 billion in 2014 alone, yet Medicare doesn’t cover some of the most effective treatments.
Despite all this, outdated government legislation prevents the coverage of obesity treatment. Washington is out of touch with the significant developments to obesity medications and current scientific evidence surrounding new pharmaceutical treatments. Treatments that could greatly improve seniors’ quality of life, while reducing long-term costs for Medicare.
The Treat and Reduce Obesity Act would fix this problem by expanding Medicare coverage to include obesity screenings, dietitians, lifestyle counselors, and FDA-approved medications. By investing in preventative care, we will see a reduction in overall costs by decreasing obesity-related complications. Medicare could face insolvency in just seven years. This is a fiscally responsible way to improve patient outcomes.
That’s why I’m urging Senator Brown and Senator Portman to prioritize obesity care for Americans. Our senators must support and co-sponsor this commonsense, bipartisan solution to preserve Medicare, while helping to address the challenge of obesity.