In response to high rates of diet-related diseases, a task force recommends changes to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP.
The Bipartisan Policy Center’s SNAP Task Force was established last year to determine how federal dollars could be better spent to promote health and reduced related health care costs of programs like Medicaid.
A new report makes a series of recommendations on SNAP benefits. Former Indiana Family and Social Services Agency secretary John Wernert is on the task force and says diet is directly linked to health outcomes.
“To encourage appropriate diets that can help folks manage not only their weight but chronic conditions like heart disease, diabetes,” he says.
One suggesting includes removing sugar-added drinks like sodas.
“We shouldn’t be using taxpayer funds for things that are clearly unhealthy, same reason we don’t cover alcohol or tobacco products,” says Wernert.
An estimated 700,000 Hoosiers participated in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, last year. Feeding Indiana’s Hungry executive director Emily Weikert Bryant says eliminating options for them may not be the best idea.
“We don’t see a need to place restrictions on SNAP households that place a stigma on use of the program,” says Weikert Byrant.
Other recommendations include incentivizing fruits and veggies and strengthening SNAP education programs.