DES MOINES, Iowa (WHO) — A bill reducing what people could purchase when using SNAP benefits passed the Iowa House’s Health and Human Services Subcommittee Thursday.
The bill would make changes to benefits and eligibility requirements for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Medicaid.
In its current form, the bill would limit what people can buy using SNAP benefits to the Women Infant and Children approved food list. That would bar people from using benefits to buy fresh meat, rice, cooking oil, butter, white bread and other items.
The subcommittee’s chair, Rep. Tom Jeneary, R-Le Mars, said the bill will likely be amended to only prohibit people from using SNAP benefits to buy candy and soda containing sugar. Those changes would require the state to receive a waiver from the USDA.
Though the bills opponents are happy to see the proposed changes, they still aren’t happy with the bill.
“It doesn’t fix the bill. This bill creates a huge administrative burden for the State of Iowa. A burden that would never be recouped by pushing people off the services,” said Rep. Beth Wessel-Kroeschell, D-Ames.
Jeneary said the bill will save taxpayers money by ensuring only the people who need benefits receive them.
“We want to make sure that people are taken care of, but that we also want to take care of the taxpayers as well,” he said.
The bill would institute an asset test for benefit recipients.
It would also create work requirements for able-bodied people receiving Medicaid. That would also require a waiver from the federal government in order to be implemented.