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Drs. Rotonya Carr and Janese Laster advocate for expanded access to obesity treatments

These doctors are using their voices to support legislation that would improve access to care.
Drs. Carr and Laster headshots
Drs. Carr and Laster headshots

Recent media coverage is showcasing how AGA members are advocating for increased access to care for patients with obesity.

AGA members Rotonya Carr, MD, chair of the Government Affairs Committee, and Janese Laster, MD, co-chair of the obesity advocacy program, are speaking up about the need to pass the Treat and Reduce Obesity Act (TROA), which would expand Medicare coverage to include screening and treatment of obesity from a diverse range of health care providers.

The bipartisan legislation would also expand coverage of behavioral counseling and FDA-approved prescription drugs for long-term weight management.

For health care providers who treat obesity-related GI conditions, passing TROA would lead to improved obesity treatment options for all Americans.

Drs. Carr and Laster have been featured in The Hill, a newspaper focused on politics and policy based in Washington, D.C., as well as trade publications like Healio.

Rotonya Carr, MD

Rotonya Carr, MD

Chair, AGA Government Affairs Committee

“Because many private insurance companies model their health benefits to reflect Medicare, the passage of the bipartisan TROA could lead to improved obesity care options for all Americans. AGA fully supports this legislation and has no reservations about expanding obesity care coverage to the millions of Americans who suffer with obesity and its complications.”

— The Hill, Aug. 22, 2023

Janese Laster, MD

Janese Laster, MD

Co-chair, AGA obesity advocacy program

“Coverage of obesity medications is up for debate and these medications have the potential to resolve the most common underlying factor leading to these other conditions. People view obesity as a cosmetic, personal moral failing of the patient. However, obesity is a complicated, multifactorial disease.”

— The Hill, Aug. 11, 2023

“Currently, many insurers do not cover anti-obesity medications, and others require cumbersome prior authorizations and appeals to obtain coverage. This is often a deterrent from attempting to prescribe. With these barriers removed, many gastroenterologists will take the time to counsel on nutrition changes and use these very helpful medications to aid in weight loss, which will help in the reversal of many obesity-related GI diseases such as GERD, fatty liver and gallstone disease to name a few and improve overall health.”

Healio, Aug. 7, 2023

Advocate for your patients by urging your elected officials to pass TROA. Use our new obesity advocacy toolkit to get started, and call or write your elected officials today.

This program is supported by an independent grant from Novo Nordisk.

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