$1.50 per day is apparently the amount that separates a healthy diet from an unhealthy one.

The article linked above highlights the relatively small difference in price and notes that with such a small difference in price a lot of money could be saved (in healthcare expenses) if policy makers would take note and find a way to get poor people these funds. Here is a notable paragraph:

Still, from a policy perspective, he argues, $1.50 a day is chump change. “That’s the cost of a cup of coffee,” he says. “It’s trivial compared to the cost of heart disease or diabetes, which is hundreds of billions of dollars” — both in terms of health care costs and lost productivity.

“And so that relatively small difference,” he says, “should really be an incentive for policymakers” to find ways to help low-income families bridge that extra $1.50 per day.

I find it very disconcerting, though not at all surprising, that the assumption is that poor people cannot afford healthy food and that’s why they do not eat healthy food. My takeaway from the article is completely the opposite of NPR’s. I see the $1.50 difference – a small difference, that, even for an annual income of $20,000, amount to only a 2% change – as evidence that those who don’t eat healthy do so by choice. In my narrative, it’s not that people (poor, rich, whatever) lack the means of eating healthy, it’s that they don’t want to. From this perspective, policy can only do one thing: force people to do something that they don’t want to do.

I am a firm believer that nobody should be forced to eat Brussels sprouts.

-JD Cross