Saturday, May 17, 2014

There's no WIC there either

But Sonny Bono's Law--as explained to Chris Matthews on Hardball back in the 90s; There are people who will game any system--is alive and well in Oakland;
The celebrated new store [Foods Co in East Oakland] - like many others across the state - is caught up in California's drive to clean up a federally funded program it administers, the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children, which gives low-income pregnant women and new moms vouchers to pay for specific healthful food items, such as low-fat milk, eggs and fresh produce.
Stores must apply for state permission to accept the WIC vouchers from customers. But for the past three years, the federal government has placed a moratorium on new store applications in California because the state has been unable to adequately monitor existing stores amid complaints of price-gouging. Among the complaints were some that vendors offered WIC participants questionable incentives to shop at their stores and then inflated the price of WIC items charged to the state.
As the late congressman explained, people with hard scrabble backgrounds, like his, aren't surprised when things like this happen;
Profit-driven vendors reaped $90 million in unnecessarily high reimbursements in one year alone - a bill footed by taxpayers - according to the California Department of Public Health, which oversees the state's WIC program. The troublesome vendors mostly consisted of small stores - like liquor stores and corner markets - which flooded the state with applications to become WIC vendors. Between 2007 and 2012, state-approved small vendors grew nearly 300 percent to 1,326 stores selling food to WIC customers.
There's a sucker born every minute, and some of them get elected to public office.

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