Medical Nutrition Equity Act of 2017
Both a Senate Bill S.1194 and a House Bill HR. 2587 were introduced into Congress in late May 2017. The purpose of these pieces of legislation is to provide for the coverage of medically necessary food and vitamins for digestive and inherited metabolic disorders under Federal health programs and private health insurance. Please review these bills and if you wish, reach out to your congressional members to ask them to co-sponsor these bills.
Nourishing Our Golden Years Act (S. 2085)
Over 40 years ago, Congress authorized the Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP) to help address food insecurity. CSFP (also known as the “Senior Food Box Program” in some areas) annually serves nearly 700,000 low-income adults age 60 and up, with monthly shelf-stable, nutrient rich foods. While CSFP application requirements vary by state, current federal regulation requires recertification of eligible older adults every 6 to 12 months (depending on the state), which can be burdensome. The Nourishing Our Golden Years Act seeks to fix these requirements for older Americans by:
- Setting a minimum CSFP certification period of one year; and
- Providing states the flexibility to extend the CSFP certification period beyond the set minimum, as long as participants’ address, interest in the program, and income is evaluated annually.
One of the Act’s lead sponsors, Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) stated, “Federal nutrition assistance, like the Senior Food Box Program, is a vital lifeline for many seniors. The Nourishing Our Golden Years Act would make it easier for older adults to benefit from the Senior Food Box Program and reduces the likelihood that a recipient would miss a re-certification deadline and become ineligible. This bill would help us fulfill our sacred responsibility to older Americans by ensuring they have access to nutritious foods.”
Support for Nutrition in Medical Education
H.R. 1413, Expanding Nutrition's Role in Curricula and Healthcare Act or the ENRICH Act Sponsor: Rep. Ryan, Tim [D-OH-13]. This bill requires the Health Resources and Services Administration to establish a program of three-year competitive grants to accredited medical schools for the development or expansion of an integrated nutrition and physical activity curriculum. The curriculum must: (1) be designed to improve communication and provider preparedness in the prevention, management, and reversal of obesity, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and cancer; and (2) address additional topics regarding individuals in at-risk populations, as practicable, including physical activity and training programs, food insecurity, and malnutrition.
H.R. 1634, EAT for Health Act of 2017 Sponsor: Rep. Grijalva, Raul M. [D-AZ-3]. This bill directs the Department of Health and Human Services to issue guidelines to federal agencies to ensure that federal, full time primary care health professionals have continuing education relating to nutrition. Agencies must annually report information including the extent to which they have adopted and encouraged the guidelines. The continuing education must: (1) include content on the role of nutrition in the prevention, management, and reversal of obesity, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, or cancer; and (2) meet requirements for continuing medical education or continuing education by medical or nurse practitioner professional organizations or certified accrediting bodies.