WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Roger Marshall, M.D. (R-KS), and Cory Booker (D-NJ) introduced a bipartisan bill to keep seniors healthy by providing them with healthy meals. 62% of seniors live with one or more chronic conditions and a poor diet can hurt folks living with chronic health conditions. Research demonstrates that meals tailored to their specific health needs can be a cost-effective strategy for improving health outcomes. The new program would provide meals that fit their needs right to seniors in their homes.
“Increasingly, we are aware that what happens to a patient out of the hospital influences how long they stay out of the hospital,” said Dr. Cassidy. “Appropriate nutrition for somebody with a chronic medical condition is another form of therapy.”
“We already know that eating healthy makes a big difference in our overall health. That’s why I’m partnering with Republicans and Democrats to help seniors on Medicare get healthy meals. By providing these nutritious meals to seniors, we can improve their quality of life, but will also reduce health care costs in the future,” said Senator Stabenow.
“As a physician, I saw the link nutrition had on the well-being of my patients,” said Senator Marshall. “New research continues to demonstrate that medically-tailored meals for patients with certain conditions can improve outcomes and savings to the health system. I’m proud to join Senators Debbie Stabenow, Bill Cassidy, and Cory Booker in introducing the bipartisan Medically Tailored Home-Delivered Meals Demonstration Act. It’s time for Congress to test how medically-tailored meals can be a cost-effective way to help seniors stay out of inpatient care and happily at home with their loved ones.”
“Despite poor nutrition being a predominant cause of chronic illnesses, our healthcare system largely ignores the power of food to prevent and treat diet-related diseases,” said Senator Booker. “To improve health outcomes and to lower healthcare spending, it’s critical that Medicare provide healthy food to patients with diet related diseases such as diabetes. This pilot program to provide medically tailored meals will lead to better health outcomes and show the urgent need to scale up these programs across various populations.”
Medicare Parts A and B—covering two-thirds of Medicare enrollees—provide no coverage for medically tailored meals. This bill would fill this gap by directing the Secretary of Health and Human Services to conduct a 4-year demonstration program to provide medically tailored meals to some of our nation’s most vulnerable Medicare enrollees.