Michigan Congressman hopes to expand funding for food programs that incentivize healthy eating

April 19, 2018
Source: WCMU Public Radio
Author: Ben Thorp

US Congressman Dan Kildee introduced a bill Wednesday to expand SNAP funding to incentivize the purchase of fruits and vegetables.

Currently, the federal budget for programs like Michigan’s Double Up Food Bucks, which gives food benefit users twice as much money if they spend it on healthy food, is $100 million. The new bill would expand it to $275 million.

Michigan’s Double Up program doubles food benefit money when it’s spent on Michigan produce.

Kildee said often people on SNAP are looking to buy foods that give them the most bang for their buck.

“What we’re trying to do is combat that by giving people who happen to be struggling and happen to be living in poverty the tools to eat as healthy as a person who doesn’t have to count every penny when they go into the grocery store.”

Kildee said, on a broader issue, he’s concerned about legislators trying to shrink the SNAP program or add stringent work requirements for recipients.

“The idea that these folks don’t want to work, the people who are receiving these benefits don’t want a job or the dignity that comes with it, is a fabrication from someone that doesn’t really know poor people.”

Kildee said the previous budget for the healthy-food-incentive program was completely exhausted.

He said the legislature should expand funding to meet the demand.

 

First posted on WCMU Radio on 19 April, 2018.