House Republicans Warn of $9.1 Trillion Medical Bill Over Next Decade Due to Rising Obesity Rates


A new report from Republicans on the Joint Economic Committee estimates that obesity will cost the US between $8.2 trillion to $9.1 trillion in excess medical expenditures over the next decade. This is a significant increase from last year’s estimate of $4.1 trillion. The report includes both government spending on healthcare through Medicare and Medicaid as well as private spending on obesity.

The report highlights the many costs associated with obesity, including increased risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer, strokes, and asthma, which involve costly interventions. Chairman David Schweikert (R-AZ) stated that the US has the tools to address the obesity crisis and that failing to do so is “immoral.”

The report also found that the obesity epidemic is reducing the overall size of the US economy due to reductions in labor supply and labor productivity. The economy is expected to be between $13.5 to $14.7 trillion smaller over the next decade due to obesity. Additionally, the report estimates that up to $2.6 trillion in tax revenue will be lost as a result of the health crisis.

The report notes that the share of adults suffering from obesity is expected to rise from between 44.9% and 47.5% this year to between 51.4% and 56.6% by 2034. The report also highlights the growing popularity of obesity-fighting GLP-1 drugs like Ozempic and Mounjaro, which have the potential to reduce calorie intake by 20% to 30% daily.

However, the report notes that the cost of GLP-1s can be “prohibitively expensive” for consumers, with prices ranging from $300 to $1,000 per month without insurance coverage. As GLP-1s come off patent, prices are expected to fall, making them more cost-effective for the federal government to cover. If prices fall enough, GLP-1s could drastically improve the nation’s overall fiscal situation while ensuring Americans live longer, healthier lives.

Zachary Halaschak
Zachary Halaschak
Economics Reporter. Before moving to Washington, he worked in Alaska, covering politics, government, and crime for the Ketchikan Daily News. While there, Zach won the Alaska Press Club’s second-place award for best reporting on crime or courts for his coverage of a local surgeon’s alleged murder. He graduated from the University of Richmond and is originally from Florida.

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