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House Co-Sponsorship Memoranda

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House of Representatives
Session of 2021 - 2022 Regular Session


Posted: December 4, 2020 12:08 PM
From: Representative Donna Oberlander
To: All House members
Subject: Payment for FDA approved anti-obesity drugs
In the near future, I plan to re-introduce legislation, formerly HB 899, that will allow U.S. Food and Drug Administration-approved (FDA) anti-obesity drugs to be considered a compensable service under our State Medicaid Program.

In 2013, the American Medical Association (AMA) officially classified obesity as a disease. As such, it is critical for the health of Pennsylvanians that we recognize this disease and provide access to the same medical therapies as we do other diseases. Currently, any drug prescribed to curtail obesity is considered a non-compensable service under the State Medicaid Program. Over the past few years, new medications have been approved by FDA for chronic weight management. These drugs have been approved for adults that meet specific criteria, including co-morbidity with one or more other medical conditions (e.g. high blood pressure, diabetes, high disease and sleep apnea). While the Commonwealth provides coverage for medications to treat diabetes, we do not cover medications to treat those diabetic patients that are clinically obese.

I recognize that not every patient benefits from the State Medicaid Program will be approved for the use of such medications, nor will those medications be successful for every patient; however, I believe it is imperative that State Medicaid patients have access to them, just as they have access to medications to treat diabetes, high blood pressure, etc.

I hope you will consider co-sponsoring this important piece of legislation—to save the Commonwealth on expenses and improve the lives of many Pennsylvanians.

Introduced as HB293