January 2, 2017

TAX WHAT YOU DON'T WANT:

Republicans Are Pressing to Ban Food Stamp Purchases of Junk Food (Eric Pianin, January 2, 2017, Fiscal Times)

While lawmakers are certain to insist on stiff work requirements for able-bodied recipients and other eligibility rules, Republican lawmakers in two states  -- Maine and Arkansas --  are eying additional potential savings by targeting beneficiaries who spend part of their monthly food subsidy on junk food and sodas, according to the Daily Signal. [...]

The push is being made with an eye toward improving public health and reducing health care costs as well as government food subsidies. State officials in Maine and Arkansas say that the ban on food stamp purchases of junk food would reduce their states' obesity rates, contain Medicaid costs for low-income people and help ensure that beneficiaries use the program for its original intent - namely insuring a healthy diet for low-income families.

Proponents say the goal is to save lives and reduce health care costs by improving people's diets, and not slashing overall spending or reducing the food stamp rolls. But depending on how the regulations are written, people caught purchasing forbidden junk food and soda could be suspended or even dropped from the program. Moreover, food stamp advocates such as the liberal-leaning Center on Budget and Policy Priorities say the program already improves the diets and health of women and children.

Posted by at January 2, 2017 10:44 AM

  

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