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The end of extra food aid will drive people ‘to the emergency room just to get food’

With the pandemic shutting down SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) benefits, 30 million American households are now grappling with food insecurity.

They lost an average of $95 per person in additional food assistance, according to Ashley Tyrner, CEO of FarmboxRx, whose food delivery company makes high-quality, farm-fresh fruits and vegetables more accessible.

“So they go to the emergency room just to get food,” Tyrner told Yahoo Finance Live (video above). “And it’s very prevalent in our food deserts, especially in rural America.”

During the beginning of the pandemic in 2020, the government gave an additional $95 to $340 in SNAP benefits to recipients. Additional aid was recently discontinued, but the additional aid is not needed for many recipients.

Grocery prices skyrocketed 10.2% year-over-year in February. Turner told Yahoo Finance Live that the US Department of Agriculture ending the pandemic SNAP benefits could lead to other health problems for low-income earners.

“Inflation is at an all-time high. Grocery bills are at an all-time high. And this is not the time for the USDA to cut back,” Tyrner said. “And it’s just going to reduce the burden of other dollars that our government puts around Medicare and Medicaid, with health disparities being compounded through that system. Because of these cuts.”

(Photo Credits: Getty Creative)

“So with this cut coming from the USDA, it’s going to affect the other government sector of CMS (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services) with individuals getting sicker, more chronic disease that’s going to come down from it, And more is unnecessary. The ER admits,” Tyrner said.

Tyrner told Yahoo Finance how FarmboxRX serves Medicare and Medicaid recipients, many of whom rely on additional food stamp benefits that were eliminated.

“We came across healthcare in 2020 when the Centers for Medicare/Medicaid changed the rules around food being offered as a benefit to Medicare and Medicaid recipients, which is one of 15 chronic diseases, Tyrner said. “And so what we do is we partner with health plans to provide meals for these members to engage in other quality outcomes.”

Tyrner says the company envisions healthy food as a type of medicine to provide preventive care. She says nutritious food reduces health expenditure which will hurt taxpayers in the long run.

(Photo Credits: Getty Creative)

“We’ve really built up the food as medicine space within health care. There’s still an enormous amount of work that needs to be done, right? If you treat someone who has type 2 diabetes, With better nutrition and better food, you’re going to change that chronic outcome that they have, which will reduce their claims cost, which is ultimately a burden to taxpayers,” Tyrner said.

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

“It’s really crazy that we’re confusing them with food that can help prevent chronic conditions, but we’re doing it so they can take other preventive measures, like mammograms, colonoscopies, diabetic eye exams.” , ” Tyrner said. “So the only way we’ve been able to get by on a health plan’s budget is by showing that we can ask members to do these other necessary exams.”

Ella Vincent is a Personal Finance Reporter for Yahoo Finance. follow him on twitter @bookgirlchicago,

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