Majority Support For Laws to Require Coverage of Obesity Treatments

sharma-obesity-treatment-pyramidOne of the key barriers to accessing obesity treatments in many countries (besides lack of training and common weight-bias of health professionals) is the lack of coverage for obesity treatments in public and private plans.

Thus, for example in the US, under the Medicare Modernization Act of 2003, Medicare is in fact prohibited from covering prescription obesity medicines.

Now, a US survey conducted by the Gerontology Society of America among 1,000 US Adults using online interviews shows a strong majority in favour of Medicare coverage for obesity medications.

Here is a summary of the main findings:

  • 87 percent of Americans believe obesity is a problem in their state.
  • 69 percent of Americans believe Medicare should expand coverage to include prescription obesity medicines.
  • 77 percent were unaware that federal law specifically prohibits Medicare from covering patient costs for prescription obesity medicines.
  • 69 percent of Americans were unaware that the FDA has found that current prescription obesity medicines are safe and effective in treating obesity. (In the last 5 years multiple medicines have been approved as safe and effective by the FDA)

To me these results are surprising as I would have expected that most Americans (like most everybody else) still believes that people with obesity need to overcome this by simply eating less and moving more rather than taking the “easy way out” by simply “popping a pill”.

Perhaps, the notion that obesity is a chronic disease and that people who have it deserve treatment the same as anyone else with any other chronic disease is starting to trickle through.

Then again of course, this survey (as so often with polls) may simply be completely off the mark.

Edmonton, AB