BOSTON (AP) — A bill that would establish a Medicare pilot program to address the link between diet, chronic illness, and senior health has been introduced by a bipartisan group including U.S. Rep. Jim McGovern.
The Massachusetts Democrat said the bill would ensure that nutritious meals reach medically vulnerable seniors in their homes, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, while providing data to help build a more resilient health care system.
“There is no doubt that what we eat plays a huge role in our overall health, yet our federal policies are decades behind the science on this,” McGovern said in a press release. “We prioritize treatment instead of prevention.”
Other lawmakers backing the measure including Republican U.S. Reps. Jackie Walorski of Indiana and Roger Marshall of Kansas and Democratic Rep. Chellie Pingree of Maine.
Medicare Parts A and B — covering two-thirds of Medicare enrollees — provide no coverage for medically tailored meals.
The bill would attempt to fill the gap by directing the Secretary of Health and Human Services to conduct a three-year pilot program to provide medically tailored meals to some of the nation’s most vulnerable Medicare enrollees.
The bill would provide at least two home-delivered meals per day to qualified individuals and any dependents under 18 living in the household.