Despite winning unanimous and bipartisan support in the Assembly Health Committee Assembly Bill 368, Food Prescriptions was held in the Assembly Appropriations Committee. But the fight is not over! The strategy has shifted to including the budget request to fund the pilot program in the state budget. The budget request was submitted to the Assembly Budget Committee in February by bill authors Assembly Majority Leader Eloise Gomez Reyes (D- San Bernardino) and former Assemblyman Rob Bonta (D – Alameda).
”By addressing health disparities upstream, we can close the disparity gap and help impacted communities build resilience. The food prescription pilot is a critical step in that effort.” said Alameda County Supervisor and Chair of the Health Committee Wilma Chan.
The $1.65M budget request would fund pilots in Alameda, Fresno, and San Bernardino counties to provide Food Prescriptions for fruits, vegetables, lean protein and other healthy food to Medi-Cal beneficiaries with diet-related health conditions. The legislation uses an equity lens to tackle persistent health disparities among the Medi-Cal population in the pilot counties.
This approach is already showing results. According to Dr. Steven Chen, Medical Director of ALL IN Food as Medicine, participants in the Alameda County program saw an average of a 16 point reduction in blood pressure. For reference, he said, a 10 point elevation in blood pressure is associated with twice the risk of death from a heart attack or stroke.
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