Opinion

Chicago Sun-Times: Americans Struggling with Hunger Can't Afford Big Cuts to Food Stamp Program

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In a report last month, the Health Impact Project, a collaboration between the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Pew Charitable Trusts, said a reduction in food stamps would lead to less nutrition for Americans and an increase in health problems. Under one of the proposals in Congress, the report said, medical costs for diabetes alone could go up $15 billion over 10 years. That certainly doesn't make massive cuts in the SNAP program sound cost-effective.

As in any program, fraud exists. Food stamps are distributed via electronic benefits transfers, which can be used like a debit card to boy groceries — but not cigarettes or alcohol — and recipients have sold SNAP cards for cash, drugs or alcohol, according to some state officials. But the USDA says fraud rates are low.

Kate R. Maehr, executive director of the Greater Chicago Food Depository, said her agency is seeing a record level of need for food.

“At at time when more than 860,000 men and women in and children in our community are struggling with hunger, any cuts to SNAP would be devastating,” Maehr said.

Read the full article at the Chicago Sun-Times