Pennsylvania’s obesity epidemic
Dr. Peter Cummings
Turn on your TV and you can’t miss an ad for the latest fitness equipment or diet fad. You would think we were a healthy, fit nation, but the tale of the tape tells a different story.
Nearly one-third of all Pennsylvanians qualify as having obesity, up 50% since 2000.
This is costing our nation a staggering $147 billion, with obese patients accruing almost $1,400 more in health care costs than Americans with a healthy weight. Medicare and Medicaid patients specifically cost $61.8 billion per year!
Enough is enough, and thankfully over 100 bipartisan lawmakers have joined forces to present a real-world solution to this real-world problem.
The Treat and Reduce Obesity Act provides the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services with the authority to provide beneficiaries with the tools to manage weight and treat obesity. It also expands benefits to include behavior counseling from qualified health care providers and allows Medicare Part D coverage to include FDA-approved drugs for chronic weight management.
Pennsylvania’s own Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick has already signed on as a cosponsor of this legislation. I hope that we will soon see Pennsylvania’s U.S. senators, Bob Casey and Pat Toomey, as sponsors of this bipartisan legislation in the Senate.