The U.S. Department of Agriculture is considering cutting food stamps for 700,000 Americans, and while this change would supposedly save money in the short run, it could have untold costs in the long run.

Research has shown that programs like SNAP and WIC are associated with better health and reduced spending on avoidable hospitalizations. Furthermore, significant health improvements were seen when interventions were multi-pronged (e.g., a food pantry-based diabetes management pilot program helped recipients better manage their disease), and additional research could clarify how more community organizations might partner with food pantries to maximize health.

In the meantime, we should be expanding access to food stamps, not limiting it. Failing to do so will cost us dollars and health.

Read Austin Frakt and Elsa Pearson’s recent Upshot post here.