Doctors say cutting food stamps could backfire

by Lauran Neergaard
This photo taken Jan. 8, 2014 shows the contents of a specially prepared box of food at a food bank distribution in Petaluma, Calif., part of a research project with Feeding America to try to improve the health of diabetics in food-insecure families. Doctors are warning that the federal government could be socked with a bigger health bill if Congress cuts food stamps -- maybe not immediately, they say, but if the poor wind up in doctors' offices or hospitals as a result. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

Doctors are warning that if Congress cuts food stamps, the federal government could be socked with bigger health bills.

Maybe not immediately, doctors say, but if the poor wind up in doctors' offices or hospitals as a result.

Congress is working to craft a compromise farm bill that's certain to include cuts. Republicans are seeking heftier cuts than are Democrats.

The health impact of hunger hasn't played a major role in the debate, but say cutting food aid could lead to higher Medicaid and Medicare costs.

A new study helps illustrate that link.

This photo taken Jan. 8, 2014 shows Maria Gonzalez carrying away her specially prepared box of food at a food bank distribution in Petaluma, Calif., part of a research project with Feeding America to try to improve the health of diabetics in food-insecure families. Doctors are warning that the federal government could be socked with a bigger health bill if Congress cuts food stamps -- maybe not immediately, they say, but if the poor wind up in doctors' offices or hospitals as a result. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

Food banks report longer lines at the end of the month as families exhaust their grocery budgets. Also, California researchers found that more poor people with a dangerous diabetes complication are hospitalized then, too.

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