CHICAGO – President Barack Obama's health care law has had a surprising side effect: In some states, it appears to be enticing more Americans to apply for food stamps, even as the economy improves.
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New, streamlined application systems built for the health care overhaul seem to be making it easier for people to enroll in government benefit programs, including insurance coverage and food stamps.
An Associated Press analysis finds unforeseen enrollment increases over two years in 11 states, including Illinois, California, Florida, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
It's happening as Republicans try to cut the costs of the food-benefits program and at a time when food-stamp usage would be expected to decline.
The impact on food stamps could grow. More states are planning to upgrade their application systems for social programs.