The Gerontological Society of America Applauds Introduction of Treat and Reduce Obesity Act
The Gerontological Society of America commends Senators Bill Cassidy (R-LA) and Tom Carper (D-DE) and Representatives Brad Wenstrup (R-OH), Raul Ruiz (D-CA), Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R-IA), and Gwen Moore (D-WI) for introducing the Treat and Reduce Obesity Act of 2023 (S 2407 and HR 4818). This critical legislation will provide Medicare beneficiaries with access to additional treatment tools to address overweight and obesity as we age.
Specifically, the Treat and Reduce Obesity Act will provide the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services with the authority to expand the Medicare benefit for intensive behavioral counseling by allowing additional types of healthcare providers to offer these services. Additionally, it allows the agency to expand Medicare Part D to provide coverage of FDA-approved prescription drugs for the treatment of obesity or for weight loss management for individuals with overweight.
“Elevating obesity disease management to the forefront will help primary care providers care for people with diabetes, hypertension, osteoarthritis, and many other diseases,” said GSA CEO James Appleby, BSPharm, MPH, ScD (Hon). “Obesity as a chronic disease is a trigger and can exacerbate these other health conditions. GSA is pleased to see the Treat and Reduce Obesity Act introduced in Congress on a bicameral, bipartisan level and looks forward to Congress passing this important legislation.”
In 2015, GSA developed a model for care of older adults that provides a useful framework for primary care providers in helping older people with obesity recognize their condition and take action to maintain a healthy weight. The GSA KAER framework — Kickstart, Assess, Evaluate, and Refer — supports primary care teams to better meet the needs of older adults with obesity and overweight. Using this framework with the tools and resources in the GSA Toolkit for the Management of Obesity in Older Adults, care teams can kickstart the discussion of weight with older adults and their families; assess the presence of altered body fat amount, distribution, and/or function; evaluate the individualized care plans developed for older adults with overweight and obesity; and refer patients to community resources.
GSA’s mission is to cultivate excellence in interdisciplinary aging research to advance innovations in practice and policy. GSA’s 5,500 members include gerontologists, health professionals, behavioral and social scientists, biologists, demographers, economists, and scholars in many other disciplines. These experts study all facets of aging with a life-course orientation. The multidisciplinary nature of the GSA membership enables the Society to provide a 360-degree perspective on the issues facing our population as we age.
The Gerontological Society of America (GSA) is the nation's oldest and largest interdisciplinary organization devoted to research, education, and practice in the field of aging. The principal mission of the Society — and its 5,500+ members — is to advance the study of aging and disseminate information among scientists, decision makers, and the general public. GSA’s structure also includes a policy institute, the National Academy on an Aging Society.