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S.C. lawmaker challenges Haley to live on food stamp budget for 1 week

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COLUMBIA — A South Carolina lawmaker is challenging Gov. Nikki Haley and the state’s Department of Social Services director to try to eat healthy foods on a food stamp budget for one week.

“If the governor and director (Lillian) Koller accept my challenge, they will quickly see that struggling South Carolinians aren’t eating unhealthily because they want to,” Democratic Rep. Bakari Sellers said Friday. “Sometimes, it is hard to understand the plight of the poor until you walk a mile in their shoes.”

State officials on Thursday said they had asked the federal agency that administers the food stamp program to discuss ways to change it.

About 878,000 people in South Carolina receive about $1.4 billion in benefits each year through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, Koller told participants at an obesity meeting in Columbia. That program is administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and Koller said she had written to federal officials to ask them for a conversation about ways to change how the program is used in South Carolina.

“That’s a lot of federal dollars in our state,” Koller said. “We need to make it work for South Carolinians, to help us make better choices and have lots and lots of healthy food options.”

Because SNAP is a federal program, Koller would need USDA permission to make any changes to it or place restrictions on purchases made in the state. Alcohol and tobacco products are the only prohibited items, but Koller said she planned to ask the federal government for a waiver to cut the list of allowed items in South Carolina to healthy purchases. Starting next month, a series of meetings will be held around the state to solicit public input on how the program should be changed.

Sellers said poverty and obesity is not caused just by unhealthful foods, but also by expenses and lack of access to better alternatives. He said a better plan is to start in schools and keep unhealthful foods away from children.

Haley spokesman Rob Godfrey said the governor will not accept the challenge, and suggested that Sellers join the healthy eating effort.

“It’s a serious issue, not just another political opportunity for state Rep. Sellers to exploit for personal gain. When he implies that (food-stamp) participants are unable to make healthy choices, he insults them,” Godfrey said. “This is an opportunity for leaders like state Rep. Sellers to work with the governor, who grew up in his district, on fighting obesity, the No. 1 killer of South Carolinians.”

If allowed to pursue a waiver, South Carolina would be the only state to do so. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has rejected at least one such proposal before – in 2011, it refused a waiver request that would have allowed New York City to ban using food stamps to buy sugary drinks, such as sodas.

Dr. Marion Burton of the state Department of Health and Human Services also said at Thursday’s meeting that the state would now officially classify obesity as a disease, something he said would allow health care providers to treat it more directly and allow coverage from Medicaid benefits.

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soldout
1280
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soldout 02/24/13 - 09:10 am
3
0
easy to eat healthy cheap

try this; most folks can eat 12 dollars worth of pizza but let's see if they can eat 12 dollars of brown rice or 12 dollars worth of stir fried Kale.

Junk food is very expensive; good food is not. If you eat organic food your body figures out it is better for you and causes you to eat less. Your body has a built in lab that figures that out. Your body also has a transmitter and a receiver but that's a story for another time.

avidreader
3377
Points
avidreader 02/24/13 - 09:37 am
4
0
Excellent Response!

Soldout, thanks. I'd like to hear about the transmitter and receiver. I think my transmitter starts clicking everytime I eat turkey spaghetti with wheat-nut bread. Thank God my wife keeps me straight. Ha!

Darby
26970
Points
Darby 02/24/13 - 12:40 pm
4
2
“Sometimes, it is hard to understand....

the plight of the poor until you walk a mile in their shoes.”

Some of us HAVE walked that mile and many more miles... Then we pulled ourselves out of poverty and took responsibility for our own lives.

Food stamps and welfare were never intended to lift anyone out of poverty, just as an aid or a helping hand. The programs have seen much more abuse than success.

Democrats are content to keep the poor just where they are. Not that many independent, self-reliant people vote the straight Democrat ticket. Never ending government dependency translates to a never ending line of Democrat voters on election day.

Democratic Rep. Bakari Sellers is a classic hypocrite.

JRC2024
9309
Points
JRC2024 02/24/13 - 03:30 pm
3
1
Fruit, milk, bread, grain

Fruit, milk, bread, grain products and vegetables are the only things someone should be allowed to purchase with food stamps. Tobacco, beer, wine, chips and such should be taboo.

Darby
26970
Points
Darby 02/24/13 - 06:19 pm
4
1
"Fruit, milk, bread, grain products and vegetables....

are the only things someone should be allowed to purchase with food stamps."
.
Hey, it's their money! Who are you to make suggestions on how to spend it? You act like you helped pay for those food stamps.

Oh, wait, I forgot, you did! Sorry about that...

KSL
134725
Points
KSL 02/24/13 - 07:26 pm
1
1
Dry beans are cheap too. How

Dry beans are cheap too.

How easily people forget that programs were meant to be temporary aid.

soldout
1280
Points
soldout 02/24/13 - 11:24 pm
0
0
transmitter and receiver

avid reader it's my theory that the reason you're walking around at the mall and you think of someone and you turn the corner and there they are is that each of us has a frequency and we transmit that to others. That's why you can guess who is calling you on the phone 75% of the time. Energy medicine works on these principles of your electrical system that runs your immune system. Energy medicine can save medicare because it can eliminate at least 75% of all existing medical expense and is years ahead of other methods. It can also be done remotely since it can be transmitted. I have worked on professional football players and watched them improve during the game. It is a fun field of study and the book "cross currents" explains how it works. You might call it focused prayer as it works on a system God created in our bodies that few realize is there.

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