May 4, 2017
CHICAGO – The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics joins the vast majority of organizations representing health care providers, patients, hospitals and the elderly by opposing the harmful health care legislation passed May 4 by the House of Representatives.
As the world's largest organization of food and nutrition professionals, the Academy recommends that the Senate oppose H.R. 1628, the American Health Care Act, and work with the Academy to find solutions that improve coverage and quality while reducing costs through innovation and enhanced preventive care. The Academy urges the Senate not to hold future votes without an evaluation of the proposed amendments from the Congressional Budget Office estimating the budgetary impact of the amended legislation and the anticipated effect on coverage for Americans.
The Academy will work with states to advocate for continued access and coverage for preventive services, coverage for preventive care, ambulatory care, behavioral health and numerous other services where registered dietitian nutritionists are improving patient health.
In a letter opposing the bill, sent May 3 to House Speaker Paul Ryan (Wis.) and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (Calif.), the Academy’s president, registered dietitian nutritionist Lucille Beseler, wrote:
The Academy and our 75,000-plus members believe that all Americans should have both coverage and access to high-quality health care. The Academy urges Congress to support measures that include nutrition services and prevention that reduces the cost of health care and improve patients' lives.
The new proposal set forth in the AHCA not only fails to improve the health of all Americans, but it will worsen patient care and public health by removing vital resources that are currently effective in improving health across the country.
This legislation continues to eliminate investments in prevention and public health, reverse advancements made in disease prevention and chronic care management, and according to the Congressional Budget Office, would result in the loss of health care coverage for at least 24 million Americans. Allowing states to waive pre-existing conditions and essential health benefits will lead to decreased coverage and utilization of vital nutrition services.
The Academy previously identified five key tenets for analyzing any legislation to reform health care:
- The health of all Americans should improve as a result of our health policy choices. Sufficient resources must be made available to ensure optimal health.
- Access to quality health care is a right that must be extended to all Americans.
- Nutrition services, from pre-conception through end of life, are an essential component of comprehensive health care.
- Stable, sufficient and reliable funding is necessary for our health care system to provide everyone access to a core package of benefits.
- Health care must be patient-centered.
"The AHCA as currently drafted fails to meet the Academy’s five tenets, and therefore we cannot support the passage of these proposals," Beseler wrote. "We look forward to continued collaboration to improve the health and nutrition for all Americans."
All registered dietitians are nutritionists – but not all nutritionists are registered dietitians. The Academy's Board of Directors and Commission on Dietetic Registration have determined that those who hold the credential registered dietitian (RD) may optionally use "registered dietitian nutritionist" (RDN) instead. The two credentials have identical meanings.
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is the world's largest organization of food and nutrition professionals. The Academy is committed to improving the nation's health and advancing the profession of dietetics through research, education and advocacy. Visit the Academy at eatright.org.