The Biden administration is releasing its proposal Tuesday to help reduce diet-related diseases and health disparities in the United States with the goal of ending hunger by 2030.
Right now, the ambitious proposal is only an outline with no new funding tied to it. During a call with reporters on Monday, administration officials called it “a road map for actions that the federal government will take administratively, a number of proposals that require congressional action … and a call to action for how non-government entities bring about the changes necessary to our goals.”
“We know that hunger- and diet-related diseases are largely preventable, and that we have the tools to solve them as a government and a country if we prioritize them,” an official said.
The proposal comes ahead ahead of the White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition and Health, the first such event to focus on food insecurity since 1969, which is scheduled for Wednesday. At the last conference, hosted by President Richard Nixon, Congress “created transformational programs like WIC that have enjoyed bipartisan support for generations and helped millions of Americans live healthier lives,” one official said.
Among other measures, the proposal asks Congress to expand access to healthy, free school meals for 9 million more kids across the country by 2032. The goal, officials said, is to eventually provide school meals for free for all students by helping schools tap into regional and local food systems. The administration also wants Congress to expand summer-EBT eligibility “to ensure kids have access to new nourishing food year-round.”
A new pilot program proposed by the strategy would also test Medicare-provided “medically tailored meals for individuals in traditional Medicare who are experiencing health conditions.”
“We have not described exactly what that means,” the official said. “There are a number of bills that have been proposed on that, and we’ve seen a number of Medicare Advantage plans cover them, but I think that is something that we would support testing.”
The White House is calling for new support for physical activity for Americans, including by “building neighborhoods that prompt and support physical activity.”
“For example,” one official said, “individuals may not know about or have access to safe places to be physically active or have chronic conditions or physical limitations that create additional barriers.”
While officials admitted the strategy “cannot be implemented overnight,” one official said they’re committed to taking “bold action.”
“We’re going to look for opportunities to get these proposals across the finish line going forward,” the official said.