The Biden administration has begun to grant state petitions that would let Medicaid be used to pay for things like groceries and dietary advice.
Programs that use “food as medicine” are being investigated by policymakers to see if they may improve health and reduce spending. Meals that are specifically designed for persons with medical disorders like diabetes are now part of Medicaid’s expanded uses. The Wall Street Journal reported, Research suggests that access to healthy foods and stable housing can improve patients’ health and reduce healthcare visits and costs.
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Stand up and show them:
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Gary D. Alexander, head of the Medicaid and Health Safety Net Initiative for Paragon Health Institute, reported to the Wall Street Journal, “This is really the first I’ve seen the federal government push food and air conditioners and other things as allowable. We already have the SNAP program,” “It seems like it’s blurring the lines.”
The Wall Street Journal also reported, “Medicaid is now paying for people’s air conditioning, air purification systems and up to six months’ rent in several states.”
An increasing number of studies suggest that tackling food insecurity can enhance health and produce savings by lowering the need for medicine, medical visits, or by assisting in the management of major illnesses. Some Republican politicians who favor giving states more autonomy over their Medicaid programs have expressed an interest in the initiatives.
A report in the Nutrition Journal said, “Before the Covid-19 pandemic, 11% of American households lacked access to enough food or food of acceptable quality, according to a Nutrition Journal article from August 2021. During the pandemic, that number increased to about 15%, with a higher frequency of over 17% in households with children.”
President Joe Biden promises to “finish the job” in his State of the Union address