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Iowa to Amend SNAP Food Purchase Regulations


The Iowa Legislature has vacillated over a range of proposed restrictions on food purchased by SNAP recipients.  Originally fresh meat, butter, sliced cheese and bagged salads were among the list of restricted products.  Following protests, the House Health and Human Services Subcommittee amended the proposal to remove many of the illogical and onerous restrictions.  The current proposal is that food purchased under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program would match approved foods for the Women, Infants and Children Program (WIC).  There was general agreement that candy and soda should be excluded from SNAP eligibility in the interest of promoting healthy eating.


The intent of Iowa legislators is to place restrictions on SNAP and Medicaid benefits and also require Medicaid recipients to work 20 hours per week.


The proposals to restrict benefits are strongly opposed by advocacy organizations that have identified unintended consequences and obvious hardships to recipients with specific disabilities.  Proposals will be reviewed by the Iowa House Health and Human Services Committee and appropriate amendments are anticipated.


The issues raised in Iowa will be revisited in other states and ultimately in Congress in framing the Farm Bill. In some states with both chambers and the governorship controlled by one party modifications to rules can be decided upon with a minimum of debate. The situation in an almost evenly divided Congress will require diplomacy, concessions to political doctrine and time to achieve consensus.