DearColleague.us

Letter

 

From: The Honorable Matt Cartwright
Sent By: geoffrey.louden@mail.house.gov
Date: 5/31/2016

Help SNAP Participants Improve Their Health and Diet

Co-Sponsors: Blumenauer, Cárdenas, Clark, Conyers, Deutch, Grijalva, Hastings, Lofgren, McGovern, Moore, Norton, Pingree, Pocan, Rangel, Slaughter, Takano, Tonko

Supporting Organizations: American Heart Association

Dear Colleague,

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is one of our country’s most vital and successful safety net programs.  In 2012, SNAP kept four million Americans above the poverty line.  Unfortunately, recent price increases in healthful foods have put the purchase of fruits and vegetables out of reach for many SNAP recipients.

While all Americans need to eat healthier, fruit and vegetable access and affordability is particularly limited for low-income Americans and participants in SNAP.  According to a 2009 study, low-income adults, with household incomes below 130 percent of the federal poverty standard, were less likely to have fruit at least two times daily or vegetables at least three times daily, compared with adults with household income above 400 percent of the federal poverty standard.

From November 2011 through April 2013, USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service designed and implemented the Healthy Incentives Pilot (HIP).  Under HIP, a group of SNAP participants in Hampden County, Massachusetts received on their SNAP Electronic Benefit Transfer card an incentive of 30 cents for every dollar they spent on fruits and vegetables.  The rebate could then be spent on any food or beverage eligible under SNAP.

In response to this price rebate, consumption of fruits and vegetables increased by 25 percent.  This increase was broadly consistent regardless of employment status, age, presence of children in the household, and amount the household received in SNAP benefits.

Increased fruit and vegetable intake is associated with lower rates of heart disease and several cancers, major causes of death in the U.S. and huge contributors to our health care economic burden.  Our bill, the SNAP Healthy Incentives Act would expand HIP to the entirety of SNAP thereby ensuring that our most vulnerable are able to purchase healthy foods for themselves and their families.  Cosponsor the SNAP Healthy Incentives Act and join us in making fruits and vegetables more accessible to our most vulnerable populations. 

For more information, or to become a cosponsor, please contact Geoffrey Louden at x55546 or Geoffrey.Louden@mail.house.gov.

Sincerely,

Matt Cartwright                                            Rosa L. DeLauro                                          

Member of Congress                                       Member of Congress