How Obamacare could help end hunger
Beyond insuring preexisting conditions and covering young adults until age 26 on their parents’ health plans — provisions singled out for support by President Barack Obama and President-elect Donald Trump — the Affordable Care Act includes a less well-known requirement worth keeping. One that has the potential to end hunger in this country.
In doing so, it would deliver better care for individuals, improve health outcomes across the population, and lower the per capita cost of care — the three overarching goals of health care reform.
The ACA mandates that nonprofit hospitals conduct a Community Health Needs Assessment and Implementation Plan every three years or risk a $50,000 tax and the loss of their nonprofit status.
Locally, Massachusetts has always been at the forefront of treating food insecurity and hunger as a public health issue. In 2001, The Greater Boston Food Bank and Boston Medical Center established the first hospital-based food pantry in the nation.
This year, GBFB launched a public health initiative designed to support community health centers in our area. Our first partner, Charles River Community Health Center in Brighton, identified food insecurity and lack of access to healthy food among its community’s five most urgent needs in its 2015 assessment.