Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Letter re House Tax Reform

The Honorable Mitch McConnell
Majority Leader
U.S. Senate
S-230 United States Capitol
Washington, DC 20515

The Honorable Chuck Schumer
Minority Leader
U.S. Senate
S-221 United States Capitol
Washington, DC 20515

The Honorable Paul Ryan
Chairman
U.S. House of Representatives
232 United States Capitol
Washington, DC 20515

The Honorable Nancy Pelosi
Democratic Leader
U.S. House of Representatives
204 United States Capitol
Washington, DC 20515

November 20, 2017

Dear Majority Leader McConnell, Minority Leader Schumer, Speaker Ryan and Leader Pelosi:

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is writing to express our concerns with H.R. 1, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, and the Senate Finance Committee's tax reform proposal. In particular, the Academy is concerned with the repeal of the Affordable Care Act's requirement that individuals maintain adequate health insurance coverage, which the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates leading to 13 million Americans without insurance by 2026.

The Academy is also concerned that the projected increase to the federal deficit will inhibit federal investments in evidence-based health and nutrition programs. CBO reports that if the current proposals become law, there will be a four percent cut to Medicare, as well as the elimination of the Social Services Block Grant and the Prevention and Public Health Fund.

The Academy holds five key tenets for analyzing any legislation that impacts health care:

  1. 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.
  2. Access to quality health care is a right that must be extended to all Americans.
  3. Nutrition services, from pre-conception through end of life, are an essential component of comprehensive health care.
  4. Stable, sufficient and reliable funding is necessary for our health care system to provide everyone access to a core package of benefits.
  5. Health care must be patient-centered.

The proposals set forth in the House and Senate tax reform proposals not only fail to improve the health of all Americans, but will worsen patient care and public health by removing vital resources that are currently effective in improving health across the country. The Academy believes that all Americans should have both coverage and access to quality health care. Affordable access to health care is an ongoing challenge that any legislation that reforms the health care system should address.

By repealing the Prevention and Public Health Fund, the proposal eliminates the sole federal investment in prevention, which will harm our state and local communities that depend on these effective public-private partnerships to improve the health of their communities. Academy members across the country utilize grants from the Prevention Fund to improve the health of communities, and these efforts would be lost without this investment.

The tax reform proposals as currently drafted fail to meet the Academy's five tenets, and therefore we cannot support the passage of these proposals. We look forward to continued collaboration to improve the health and nutrition for all Americans.

Sincerely,

Donna Martin, EdS, RDN, LD, SNS, FAND
President, 2017-2018