House Bill Would Cover Obesity Drugs for Sliver of New Medicare Enrollees

The House Ways and Means Committee on June 27 cleared legislation authorizing Medicare Part D plans to cover obesity drugs for new enrollees who had commercial coverage for the treatments in the year prior to aging into the program, a move that may prove to be largely symbolic because of its limited impact.

The bill is a significantly slimmed down version of the Treat and Reduce Obesity Act (TROA) and was offered at the markup by committee leadership as a substitute for the original bill. TROA advanced in a bipartisan 36-4 vote.

Currently, obesity drugs are not defined as “covered” Part D drugs. The bill would allow, but not require, plans to cover the treatments for obesity in some individuals.

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Cathy Kelly

Cathy Kelly

Cathy is a senior writer with Pink Sheet and has covered U.S. regulation and reimbursement policy for the biopharma industry since 2004, starting with the establishment of the Medicare Part D program. Since then, she has written extensively about developments in all major sectors of the U.S. insurance market (Medicare, Medicaid and commercial plans). She has covered key legislation affecting biopharma, including the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act which created Part D, health care reform under President Obama, and the Inflation Reduction Act. She has closely followed the increasing influence of pharmacy benefit managers and their use of formulary negotiations and rebates to control pricing. Cathy also has covered developments in health technology assessments and has monitored industry progress on novel drug contracting that reflects value-based pricing.

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