Foodst aid cuts could lead to food insecurity, food delivery company says

Foodst aid cuts could lead to food insecurity, food delivery company says

30 million Americans are struggling with food insecurity because of the discontinuation of SNAP Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits.

FarmboxRx CEO Ashley Tyrner, whose food delivery company makes high-quality, farm-fresh fruits and vegetables more accessible, said they lost $95 on average per person in extra food aid.

They go to the emergency room to get a meal, according to Tyrner, who said that's very prevalent in our food deserts, especially in rural America. The government gave additional $95 to $340 in SNAP benefits to recipients during the start of the epidemic in 2020. The additional aid was recently discontinued, but the extra need hasn't been used for many recipients.

Grocery prices went up 10.2% year-over-year in February. Turner told Yahoo Finance Live that the U.S. Department of Agriculture ending pandemic SNAP benefits could lead to other health issues for low-income recipients.

Inflation is at an all time high. Grocery bills are at an all time high. It is not the time for the USDA to make a cut, according to Tyrner. It's just going to have a trickling down burden effect to other dollars our government puts out around Medicare and Medicaid, with health disparities trickling down through the system because of these cuts. With this cut coming from the USDA, it is going to hit the other government sector of CMS Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services with people becoming more sick, more chronic disease that's going to come down the line, and more unnecessary ER admits, according to Tyrner.

Tyrner told Yahoo Finance how FarmboxRX serves Medicare and Medicaid recipients, many of whom are dependent on the extra food stamp benefits that were eliminated.

In 2020, the Center for Medicare Medicaid changed regulations on food and produce, which was able to be offered as a benefit to Medicare and Medicaid recipients that have one of 15 chronic diseases, and brought that into the healthcare space, according to Tyrner. We partner with health plans to provide food to these members to engage them in other quality outcomes. Tyrner says that the company offers healthy food as a type of medicine to provide preventative care. She says that healthy food lessens health expenses that will hurt taxpayers in the long run.

We created the food as medicine space within health care. There is still a lot of work that needs to be done there, right? If you treat someone with Type 2 diabetes with better nutrition and better food, you're going to change that chronic outcome that they have, which will lower their claims costs, which is ultimately a burden on taxpayers, said Tyrner.

Tyrner told Yahoo Finance that FarmboxRx encourages customers to take more measures to be proactive with their health as a result of the nutrition education paired with their meals.

It's crazy that we're engaging them with food, which can help prevent chronic conditions, but we're doing it because we're trying to get them to go take these other measures for preventative measures, like mammograms, colonoscopies, diabetic eye exams, according to Tyrner. That's the only way we've been able to get on a health plan's budget is by showing that we can have the members go do these other necessary exams.