STATEWIDE – The Maine Department of Health and Human Services is requesting that the USDA prohibit the purchase of candy and soda for food stamp users.
Commissioner Mary Mayhew says Maine spent more than 115 million dollars in medical claims related to obesity in its Medicaid program last year.
Mayhew says 88 percent of Medicaid recipients also receive food stamp benefits. She says nearly 60-percent of Mainers are overweight and she hopes this change will lower that statistic.
“It seems only logical that in a self proclaimed nutritional assistance program that sugary foods and beverages would be off the menu, we all know that poor food choices lead to chronic health conditions and perpetuate a cycle of continued spending for healthcare services.” stated Mayhew.
The Democratic House Majority leader says this bill is supported by his party, saying he wants to get this done so they can focus on other big issues.
Currently, under federal law, states can’t regulate what people buy with their food stamps, that means Maine will have to request a waiver for the change.