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Senate Democrats inserted a wide-ranging provision for “Community Transformation Plans” in their half-completed health care bill, outlining the proposal on page 382 of the now-615 page bill, major sections of which have yet to be written. Some Republicans have criticized the provision as a means to funnel money to liberal activist groups under the canopy of “community organizations,” whereby they will use the funds to promote big government health care but also monitor people’s eating and exercise regimens in the name of “healthy lifestyles.”
In the bill, the Affordable Health Choices Act, community transformation plans would be carried out using federal money and be overseen by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The CDC would distribute the money as well as coordinate the various state, local, and “community” entities responsible for carrying out the plans.
Whichever type of group receives the funding, it must submit to the CDC director a plan for community transformation. As it states: “An eligible entity that receives a grant under this section shall submit to the [CDC] Director (for approval) a detailed plan that includes the policy, environmental, programmatic, and infrastructure changes needed to promote healthy living and reduce disparities.”(p. 383)
The transformation plans must include “activities” for all ages, beginning in public schools, which focus on eating healthy food, adequate amounts of physical activity, the “promotion” of healthy lifestyles or “any other chronic disease priority area identified by the grantee.”
The transformation plans must also take action to promote certain “healthy options” at privately owned restaurants as well as “prioritizing strategies” to “reduce racial and ethnic disparities,” although the bill does not explain how racial and ethnic disparities figure in to community transformation.