Bill seeks national medical food coverage

Gabe Reuter, Reporter

If food cost three times as much as it does now then a box of cereal would cost $20, a loaf of bread would be $10, and a gallon of milk would be $7.50. That means breakfast would cost more than $40, if the toast has butter.
A very expensive meal, and at minimum wage it would require five hours of working time. The unfortunate fact is that this is the reality for people who have metabolic genetic disorders in many states.
Medical foods are prescribed to people who have distinct nutritional needs due to disease or genetic disorder. These foods are often made in labs and have added or removed nutritional elements to suit the needs of individuals with intolerances.
The genetic disorder Phenylketonuria (or PKU for short) expands at a rate of 10,000 new U.S. families per year. With PKU a person cannot eat meat, dairy, beans, nuts, or wheat. This leaves essentially just vegetables.
These families are left with no choice. Just one example of a disorder that requires these modified foods, there are many more.
The group behind the effort for equality is the National PKU Alliance, who have been pushing for this equity for years, and are now very close.
Every two years bills that have been submitted to Congress are reviewed and either passed or denied.
One law proposed this year advocates for the nationwide insurance coverage of medical foods. the Medical Nutrition Equity Act. This would create equity across the nation for people living with metabolic disorders, and help them lead normal lives without the burden of medical food expense.
Theses food items are indispensable to diagnosed individuals, and it is not an option for them to purchase these items. The problem is that some people can’t due to the expense.
The reality is that only in some states does health insurance cover these costly foods, and thus some people are forced to pay full price for them. The alternative is to suffer the consequences of not tending to their bodies needs. In many cases this has life changing severity.
“I personally know women who lacked the resources to manage their diet correctly, and gave birth to children with severe mental disabilities. Not treating these disorders correctly has vast consequences for patients and their families.” said Dr. Cary Harding, a lifelong researcher of cures for disorders like PKU.