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Guthrie Introduces Bipartisan Bill to Treat and Reduce Obesity

Washington, March 5, 2019

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Brett Guthrie (KY-02), along with Congressmen Ron Kind (D-WI), Raul Ruiz, M.D., (D-CA), and Tom Reed (R-NY), introduced the bipartisan Treat and Reduce Obesity Act, which will help lower health care costs and address the obesity epidemic by expanding access to treatment options for Medicare beneficiaries affected by obesity.

“Sadly, obesity rates among adults in the United States have doubled in the last twenty years, and over 34% of Kentucky’s adults are living with obesity,” said Congressman Guthrie, who serves on the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Health.  “Living with obesity impacts a person’s overall health, and often can be directly correlated to diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, heart failure, and certain cancers. I was proud to join Reps. Kind, Ruiz, and Reed to introduce the Treat and Reduce Obesity Act, which will enhance access to treatment for obesity for Medicare recipients.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 41 percent of American adults 60 years old and older are considered medically obese. That totals more than 27 million Americans. The National Institutes of Health rank complications from obesity and the chronic diseases and conditions associated with obesity as the second leading cause of death in the United States.

When Medicare Part D passed in Congress in 2003 to help seniors pay for prescription drugs, there were no FDA-approved obesity drugs on the market. As a result, most obesity drugs were excluded from Part D coverage. However, with significant medical advances, a number of FDA-approved drugs with the primary purpose of treating diseases of obesity are now available. The Treat and Reduce Obesity Act will allow Medicare Part D to cover these FDA-approved obesity drugs.