Advocacy blitz targets Medicare coverage of obesity treatment

In June, a consortium of industrial and medical groups forming the Obesity Care Advocacy Network, or OCAN, launched the Obesity Care Now campaign. The group has published press releases, sponsored newsletters, and recently participated in webinars featuring lawmakers. High-profile groups like the NAACP and the National Urban League have endorsed the campaign.

Novo Nordisk is the industry’s largest donor to OCAN’s parent organization, the Obesity Action Coalition, and is funding progressive courier company Precision Strategies to help run the campaign.

Joe Nadglowski, who is the co-chair of OCAN as well as the president and CEO of the Obesity Action Coalition, told CQ Roll Call that the content of the campaign is decided by consensus among the members of the OCAN and that Novo Nordisk’s donations have no impact on the group’s political decisions. Industry donations account for about 20% of the coalition’s over $ 7 million budget, he said.

The remainder comes from contributions from their 75,000+ members, donated events and in-kind services. Other drugmakers, medical groups, and weight loss companies donate money as well.

“We continue to fight for obesity to be recognized as a disease by policy makers, healthcare professionals and others, and many organizations involved in OCAN have championed this issue for over a decade,” said Nadglowski said. “It will take a concerted effort, made up of several stakeholders, to increase access to care for obese people.

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