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Poor nutrition is linked to health problems—and health costs—in a host of ways, from outright malnutrition to long-term problems like diabetes and obesity. That's why cutting food stamps would increase long-term health care costs. Turns out, it may increase very short-term, as in month to month, health care costs as well: A new study finds that not having enough to eat may lead to immediate spikes in hospitalization:
Poor people with diabetes are significantly more likely to go to the hospital for dangerously low blood sugar at the end of the month when food budgets are tight than at the beginning of the month, a new study has found.

Researchers found no increase in such hospitalizations among higher-income people for the condition known as hypoglycemia, suggesting that poverty and exhausted food budgets may be a reason for the increased health risk. [...]

Researchers found a clear pattern among low-income people: Hospital admissions for hypoglycemia were 27 percent higher at the end of the month than at the beginning.

That's a correlation, not proof of causation, but if you're finding a strong correlation for low-income people you're not finding for higher-income people ... it's highly suggestive, at a minimum. And since the people who have trouble affording enough food at the end of the month are more likely to be on Medicaid or have trouble paying for medical care, we very well may be looking at a situation where a small amount of extra nutritional assistance could cut health care costs significantly. To say nothing of the human suffering and risks for greater health problems. But, of course, Republicans want to kick millions of people off of food stamps or cut their already inadequate aid, and some Democrats are all too willing to "compromise."

Sign and send our petition to your Democratic senator, telling them in no uncertain terms: No Farm Bill that cuts food stamps. Absolutely no cuts to food stamps at all. None.

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Comment Preferences

  •  It's harder to stretch the food budget (14+ / 0-)

    When there are people with sugar issues in the house. My son is a severe hypoglycemic (not diabetic). He eats a lot of carbs and proteins.  A lot of peanut butter sandwiches, but I also keep 'quick sugar' snacks on hand for when he wakes up cold and shaking and light headed, to give him enough of a boost for the slower sugars to kick in. He's also allergic to milk, which makes things even more complex. Lately he's eating more carbs because the prices on proteins have gone up (and he won't eat beans or rice, so please don't suggest it).

    I have a friend who comes to the house frequently who is a type one diabetic. She can't have the carbs our son needs to thrive. Wheat, oats, rice, barley, rye, all of those are VERY limited in what she can have. She eats mostly proteins and vegetables. When she visits meal planning is even more difficult, because I have to have lots of carbs for my son, and enough of everything else for her. Which means less for everyone all told (except for the boy who has to have a set amount).

    Our food stamps amount keeps inching down. Prices keep inching up. Child support is getting more and more unreliable (and may have stopped altogether because he was on extended unemployment). I'll keep my son in enough of the food he needs to stay out of the hospital, to stay balanced and as stable as he gets. I've been trying to lose weight anyway.

    But it doesn't surprise me that diabetics are having more trouble staying out of the hospital, especially at the end of the month. The foods they shouldn't have as much of are usually the cheapest to get.

    "Madness! Total and complete madness! This never would've happened if the humans hadn't started fighting one another!" Londo Mollari

    by FloridaSNMOM on Tue Jan 07, 2014 at 09:56:59 AM PST

    •  You're in a tough situation, FloridaSNMOM. We (6+ / 0-)

      have to keep fighting back against the plutocrats who only have sympathy for themselves.

      "The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?" ~Orwell, "1984"

      by Lily O Lady on Tue Jan 07, 2014 at 10:12:52 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  This shouldn't be the solution. (9+ / 0-)

      "I've been trying to lose weight anyway."

      Wow. I've worked with enough low-income clients to know what that means: Mom does not eat, even when her own health suffers, in order to make sure everyone else has enough.

      It is simply unacceptable to put people in this situation. We are better people than this.

      BTW does your friend know what her visits do to your budget? I realize she's your friend, but if she's a real friend, you may want to gently mention it.  

      •  Why? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        It's one of the reasons I worked so hard to lose weight. We can't keep affording to buy extra food the way we did before I lost it. Needs must when the Devils in Washington, D.C. drive.

      •  I've told her (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Calamity Jean

        but she's always broke when she comes, or she brings things she thinks we need, like microwave popcorn, which is a luxury and doesn't help with dinner. And I do eat, I just don't eat as much, nor the quality of foods I should have. We eat a lot of spaghetti and casseroles and soups, things to spread the meat and a lot of carbs, which is great for my son, not so much for me. So I get enough food, but not enough nutrition.

        "Madness! Total and complete madness! This never would've happened if the humans hadn't started fighting one another!" Londo Mollari

        by FloridaSNMOM on Tue Jan 07, 2014 at 03:56:40 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Food allergies and diabetes in the same house... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      FloridaSNMOM, Calamity Jean

      I just had a severe reaction last night to some Jello we made. My husband got a bad sugar spike out of it, too, despite it being mostly sugar-free. :(

      Good luck. Apparently we'll both need it.

      •  either your alergic or reacting to (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        the coloring or your being poisoned by untested food additives. like the anti caking agent mixed in to the powder to prevent it from clumping in storage. Or your being poisoned by the artificial sweetener. Or other additives they don't have to list under the cover of trade and  receipt secrets.

        We were never meant to consume that crap in the form it is used by the companies.
        Quote from last link : "No one is ever exposed to a single chemical, but to a chemical soup, the ingredients of which may interact to cause unpredictable health effects.":

        Hint  find out what normal allergy reactions are if your symptoms are not in that group, then more likely your have a toxic reaction to the poisonous soup of chemicals.
        by the way this is not an allergy this is toxicity poisoning.

        most doctors I find are unwilling to point to the chemical soup mix of poisons out fear of being sued by the companies that used it and out of inability to use a clear test that says yes you were poisoned.

        Chemical toxicity destroyed my life when I was 26 leading me to have heart surgery and I never fully recovered from it and still have problems to this day. basically I hit my toxic limit.

    •  I feel ya (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I have food additive sensitivity like MSG and many others and chemical sensitivity  like pesticides/ herbicides cant eat certain foods like carrots, radishes, certain leafy greens. mustard, garlic.

      I have to get my food mainly from the farmers market organic or whole ingredients minus the additives. This gets expensive at 4$ a dozen jumbo eggs and 3-5$ pound tomatoes, 3.75 to 5.00$ loaf of bread, etc.

      I get real sick from eating processed foods in stores or the heavily spayed produce, washing produce does not help because the chemicals were absorbed through the freaking skin of the plant.

      I stopped going to the doctors when getting sick due to food toxicity caused by "big business" business practices.

      For food support from county all i get is a pissy $15
      Another person in our building gets 150ish all because she has AC in her wall and pays the 8$ month in ac fees.
      her income is a bit by about 200$ lower too though.

      Irony is if I were to put my dead AC in my wail and pay the 8$ a month on energy I could get probably get 30-80 some $ per month

      when they calculate energy in the food assistance equations
       everyone gets a set flat rate so I spend 8 I get credit of spending 120ish  thus causing the amount of help to jump sharply.

      But if I payed over the 120ish i would only get counted as 120ish. thus getting screwed out of some $$ in food assistance.

      This was done in a so-called effort to streamline the determination process for food assistance.

      My AC is dead and I am not comfortable putting it in the wall and pay the 8$ just so I can get a big boost on food assistance using the quirks of the determinations to my advantage.

      Its not "technically" fraud because you do pay the 8$ energy fee for the right to use the AC without actually using it.......

      I have tried to get the county to fix said flaw in their determinations so that way people couldn't game the system by using low cost energy and getting a high credit for energy expenses.

    •  I remember elders under Reagan (0+ / 0-)

      Having to literally choose between paying for insulin or paying for food.
      Cut one, either end up in the hospital or, if alone, dead.

      The GOP, never met a US citizen that it disagreed with that it didn't want to starve to death.

  •  No doubt Repubs are hoping people will (5+ / 0-)

    "The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?" ~Orwell, "1984"

    by Lily O Lady on Tue Jan 07, 2014 at 10:10:36 AM PST

    •  What will die is the supermarkets and grocery (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Lily O Lady

      stores in small communities.  Local food stamps and nutritional subsidies are the margin they live on.   They struggle even with that, while the surrounding rural areas receive millions in agricultural subsidies, which do not make it into what are absolutely necessary local services like food vendors.

      Cutting SNAP is a direct slap at some very important small businesses whose customers need the assistance to keep them in business providing local foodstuff.    

      •  According to this article, there is good evidence (0+ / 0-)

        that spending more for food stamps, especially for those with health problems influenced by diet, would save on health care.  Why can't Republicans understand that policy that saves money in the long run is worth following because it pays for itself, and that policy that ends up costing more by trying to cut corners is penny wise and pound foolish?

  •  I read that NYTimes article this morning (3+ / 0-)

    Tragic. Statistics show that 25% of SNAP beneficiaries use up their benefits in the first week of the month. Wow. Listen to Ken Hecht, a true angel, give some rundown about the reality of SNAP at this conference back in 2012. Vid automatically starts at 14 minutes in.

    "Societies strain harder and harder to sustain the decadent opulence of the ruling class, even as it destroys the foundations of productivity and wealth." — Chris Hedges

    by Crider on Tue Jan 07, 2014 at 10:17:31 AM PST

    •  Some of this is bulk buying (2+ / 0-)

      I've seen families at the cheapo supermarket during that first week, loading up two or three carts. I assume that some of them don't have a car, so it makes more sense to do one huge shopping trip -- one cab fare -- than smaller ones every few days.

      That said, my experience is that when the house is full of food, everyone helps themselves to snacks and raids the fridge, so that food that was supposed to last several weeks may disappear pretty quickly. That's especially true if you're in a pattern where the last couple of weeks each month you've been going to bed hungry.

      I don't know the answer to this. My sense is that the old "food stamps" were easier for people to budget over the whole month, because they could see them -- the divide-the-envelopes method of budgetting -- where the cards don't give you as clear feedback.

      There is also, at least where I am, a fair amount of fraud, where during that first week some percent of recipients cash out their cards at a complicit convenience store. That could skew the stats quite a bit.

      •  Some supermarkets have Senior Day. (3+ / 0-)

        Sometimes weekly, sometimes monthly. If it's monthly, it'll be in the first week of the month.

        And that's when just about anyone with an available senior citizen in the family goes to buy the non-perishables.

        •  I understand that Costco's biggest week (3+ / 0-)

          for groceries is the first week of the month.

          I shop at Grocery Outlet, and the first of the month it is definitely the biggest week. I'm on SNAP and every time I buy something, my remaining balance is shown on the receipt. Also, I can go to the EBT website and get my remaining balance there. But I have internet and a computer.

          "Societies strain harder and harder to sustain the decadent opulence of the ruling class, even as it destroys the foundations of productivity and wealth." — Chris Hedges

          by Crider on Tue Jan 07, 2014 at 11:16:37 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  They are moving the payment and giving us two this (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Throw The Bums Out, FloridaSNMOM


        It's a real problem.  I buy by the month, with weekly trips for milk and bread (since Dad drinks milk as a beverage). I precook and freeze a lot, as well. By next week the freezer will be packed with cooked chopped chicken, pulled pork and beef, and precooked hamburger, put up in quantities sufficient for one meal.

        So the question for tomorrow is, have I got enough to start with to make the start? Or not?  I don't like that calculation. The hard part will be that Bear probably won't be able to come in with me, because he has no self-control.

        Fortunately, I won't have to make it again after this month; February they'll keep us on the new schedule, and everything will be fine.

        When you come to find how essential the comfort of a well-kept home is to the bodily strength and good conditions, to a sound mind and spirit, and useful days, you will reverence the good housekeeper as I do above artist or poet, beauty or genius.

        by Alexandra Lynch on Tue Jan 07, 2014 at 01:01:18 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Increasing the spending on food stamps (7+ / 0-)

    would also benefit people by better enabling them to make healthier choices.  It is well known that the cheaper items are also devoid of nutrition and full of fat, sugar, and salt.  

    One of my favorite lines from the movie, The Breakfast Club: "No, the four food groups are not, 'salt, sugar, fat and booze'.

    "It's not surveillance, it's data collection to keep you safe"

    by blackhand on Tue Jan 07, 2014 at 10:21:12 AM PST

    •  agree (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      the healthy whole foods are expensive as hell

      I am not talking the 98 cent dozen eggs, its that cheap because  the farm cut corners on feed and care for the chickens in the factory farm

      3-5$ eggs free ranged anti biotic free. No hormones, diversified feed mostly consisting of grasses and insects. No corn feed, no arsenic feed, free ranged

      color of the yolk in the first one is very pale yellow

      the color of the second one is deep lustrous orange

      same species of chicken in both cases

      Those rich republicans are most likely eating the second group  and avoid the cheap stuff like the plague.

      I actually got a chance to eat rich man's Idaho potatoes back in 1990   and its nothing like the ones in store.(actually you could not buy them in the store period, its exclusive to the rich.)  It was heavenly and healthy. the potatoes were packed in such a way as to not touch each other and was cushioned.    It was gift to my "step-mother at the time" from a wealthy patient at MAYO Clinic as a way of thanks for her care of him..

  •  So Republicans are working to murder people like (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FloridaSNMOM, Calamity Jean

    my husband.

    And people wonder why I'm so testy and don't want to just "work with" Republicans.

  •  I think the republicans need to be renamed (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Calamity Jean

    to the "Hitlers brigade".  their current actions is on par with the hitlers extermination of the disabled in 1939 called the t4 program
    read this link there is just way to much Parrnell

    Quote:"The idea of killing the incurably ill was posed well before 1939. In the 1920s, debate on this issue centered on a book coauthored by Alfred Hoche, a noted psychiatrist, and Karl Binding, a prominent scholar of criminal law. They argued that economic savings justified the killing of "useless lives" ("idiots" and "congenitally crippled"). Economic deprivation during World War I provided the context for this idea. During the war, patients in asylums had ranked low on the list for rationing of food and medical supplies, and as a result, many died from starvation or disease. More generally, the war undermined the value attached to individual life and, combined with Germany's humiliating defeat, led many nationalists to consider ways to regenerate the nation as a whole at the expense of individual rights."

    the 47% comment last presidential election ring any bells with above quote? The cutting of assistance as a means of economics solution ring any bells with the above quote and link?....

    I find bailing out irresponsible elite that got millions to billions for 1 entity was the so called bailout.
    same with cost of fighting conflict we have no business belonging in.

  •  trying to engineer a die-off (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FloridaSNMOM, Throw The Bums Out

    They really truly believe that "welfare" causes poverty by allowing the underclass to exist in the first place.

    There are conservatives out there who actually think that mandatory sterilization before receiving any form of public assistance would be the humane solution to the problem of poverty: i.e. "You've failed at life and we're not going to let you perpetuate that failure."

    Domestic politics is the continuation of civil war by other means.

    by Visceral on Tue Jan 07, 2014 at 04:40:16 PM PST

  •  My rep (0+ / 0-)

    Tom"I sue poor people with big medical bills" Reed, is allegedly sponsoring a bill to increase HEAP. Since he voted for massive cuts in SNAP, why bother keeping the starving warm? After all, the bodies won't decompose as quickly in an unheated residence.

    •  He is proposing an increase in subsidy to the (0+ / 0-)

      energy industry.   Pure and simply put nothing more than increased return to his biggest contributors.

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