So much of the discourse around the Affordable Care Act reduces the bill to the insurance exchanges, or—if a bit more accurate—the insurance-related portions writ large. But the bill was much broader, with regulations and funding related to hospitals, public health, and wellness. It covered many different facets of health.
One of the many oft-forgotten provisions is the one that required restaurants to post calorie information on their menus. The FDA issued its regulations in November 2014 but then delayed them after bipartisan blowback.
Last Friday, the House voted to delay and weaken these regulations with the so-called Common Sense Nutrition Disclosure Act of 2015. When politicians start talking “common sense,” perk up, because they’re often trying to deceive you.
In particular, the bill extends the delay of the regulations by two years and then allows restaurants to avoid posting calorie information by posting it online or on a smartphone app instead. Basically, the bill wants to allow restaurants to hide information from you.
Obama has already said that he would veto the bill.
It passed nevertheless 266 to 144.
233 Republicans and 33 Democrats voted for it. 143 Democrats and 1 Republican—Tom Massie (KY-04)—voted against it. John Yarmuth (KY-03) voted present.
Among those 33 Democrats voting for it were 4 out of Massachusetts’s 9 representatives: Bill Keating (MA-09), Joe Kennedy (MA-04), Stephen Lynch (MA-08), and Richard Neal (MA-01).
The rest of the delegation voted against it: Mike Capuano (MA-07), Katherine Clark (MA-05), Jim McGovern (MA-02), Seth Moulton (MA-06), and Niki Tsongas (MA-03).
Adapted from a Daily Kos post
Thanks for holding our elected officials accountable with this post!
I believe this part of the ACA only applies to restaurants with more than 20 locations. If this applied to independent restaurants, there would be a very strong argument for this law adding hefty costs to businesses with razor thin margins. Given that it is for larger regional and national chains and large franchise operations, the cost arguments are tougher to swallow.
I’m sure this was one of the NRA’s (the other one – the National Restaurant Association) top priorities.
Yep, that’s my understanding as well. It wouldn’t make sense to make, say, a local diner do this. But it does make sense to make Starbucks do it.
When I’m watching my weight, I google the menus before sitting down, or request the nutritional menu. People can take responsibility for themselves, and with evertyhing going right now, I can’t get too excited about this vote….
I was in McDonald’s for lunch yesterday. Too cold to walk far, didn’t have leftovers from home. First time in over a year, and my desk looks at the dang place.
They post the calories next to their burgers. Those calories nudged me to something a bit less caloric. I’m not actively dieting or exercising more than normal. It was just a nudge. And it worked.
Methinks posting calories will help some people choose to eat fewer calories some of the time. That’s the upside anyway.
Especially at places like Panera where something sounds good, but you look at it has 700 calories.
I get the nudge effect, the reminder to think about calories. My question is – without the specific caloric data presented, would you have guessed or known that your eventual choice had fewer calories than your first choice?
I was choosing between
(a) two cheeseburgers,
(b) a quarter pounder with cheese
I figured (a) had more, but just a little more. Turns out that choice (a) has 75% more calories than choice (b): 762 vs. 435.
You’re doubling the bread and cheese with the 2 cheeseburgers over the QPC. There are a lot of good calorie counter apps that act as a good nudge too, along with fit bit which gamefies it.
and thank you for the specifics. Having read your response I realize my guess would have been incorrect. Score one for calories on menus.
And it works, no doubt. Always surprising to see some results. Took me a while to learn that protein doesn’t always mean calories.
But this is the kind of nanny state stuff that makes liberals look foolish.
…would try to regulate the amount of calories in a given food (maybe not the worst idea in the world since health is not just a private concern). All this does is provide information which consumers are free to heed or ignore. I would therefore argue that it empowers people to make informed choices based on enlightened self-interest, which libertarians claim to favor and believe happens.
Trickle up says
A real nanny state would—but Christopher already said it.
If anyone is running against him this year, please anyone let me know as soon as possible, because unless that person is a criminal or a republican, I will work on that person’s campaign. At this point, even a republican is negotiable.