A bill was recently proposed in the Arkansas legislature to limit what foods people could buy using money from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, known as food stamps.
While this has been a hot topic on the Region 8 News Facebook page, two things came to my mind about the proposal.
First, we need to know some details. Republican Representative Mary Bentley of Perryville said the items to include in the ban include items such as chips, sodas, and candy bars.
On this part, I partially agree. I think there should be some kind of limit on what kind of food is bought using taxpayer money. Arkansas is the 6th most obese state in the union, according to a recent study, and the state spends $1.25 billion tax dollars on obesity-related care through Medicaid and Medicare.
Secondly, we have to be realistic. Food that is bad for us seems to be less expensive than the foods that are good for us. When you're talking about food stamps, we have to understand that if the person spends more on healthier food, they're not going to be able to buy as much. That means more Arkansans could go hungry because they simply ran out of 'healthier' food.
A plan that's never written down is only an idea.
I applaud Representative Mary Bentley on getting this idea down on paper, but the legislature and the community have to be open to both sides of this argument and listen to the other side.
Finding common ground on this bill make us healthier, more financially responsible, and A Better Region 8.
- Chris Conroy, KAIT VP & General Manager
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