Health & Fitness Association Helps Highlight Structured Exercise in U.S. House GLP-1 Bill

The Health & Fitness Association (HFA) commended the U.S. House Ways and Means Committee for its proactive steps in considering H.R. 4818, the “Treat and Reduce Obesity Act of 2023.” This legislation marks a significant stride toward addressing the obesity epidemic by expanding Medicare coverage for GLP-1 weight loss drugs.

The HFA is proud to share that its dedicated advocacy efforts have been instrumental in crafting language within the bill that directs the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) to initiate a reconsideration of the national coverage determination entitled "Intensive Behavioral Therapy for Obesity." This critical development will enable HFA to collaborate closely with HHS and share valuable data on clinical guidelines and scientific literature, emphasizing the positive impacts of structured exercise on weight management and chronic disease prevention.

"Our engagement and advocacy have been pivotal in ensuring that the importance of structured exercise is recognized alongside pharmaceutical interventions," said Mike Goscinski, HFA's Vice President of Government Affairs. "This legislation represents the first substantial policy conversation around the integration of weight loss drugs with physical activity and lifestyle changes. We are honored to have a seat at the table and to contribute to a comprehensive approach to health and wellness."

In a letter to Chairman Smith and Ranking Member Neal submitted to the congressional record, Goscinski highlighted the essential role of structured exercise in maximizing the efficacy of GLP-1 medications.

“Our members play a crucial role in helping patrons live healthier lives, which leads to positive public policy outcomes such as the reduction of overall healthcare costs," said Goscinski. "We urge Congress to view the expansion of Medicare coverage for GLP-1 drugs not as an isolated solution but as part of a broader, integrated approach to health and wellness. By recognizing the complementary role of lifestyle interventions alongside pharmaceutical treatments, we can help individuals achieve lasting health improvements and support sustained health outcomes. This holistic approach will ultimately reduce the long-term need for medication while ensuring sustained healthy lifestyles."