Supplemental Food Program:

Savings From Food Purchases Could Increase WIC Participation

RCED-88-183BR: Published: Jul 25, 1988. Publicly Released: Aug 1, 1988.

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In response to a congressional request, GAO provided information on the number of additional eligible participants that states could serve through the Special Supplemental Food Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) if they adopted competitive bidding or rebate methods to purchase food items other than infant formula.

GAO reviewed Maryland and Ohio cost-savings methods and found that: (1) if Maryland's reported savings of 2 percent were duplicated nationally, this would equal about $18.5 million in savings, which could finance about 46,000 additional WIC participants; and (2) Ohio's reported 14-percent savings rate, which would equal about $129.4 million nationally could finance about 321,900 additional participants. GAO also found that the two states: (1) provided food to WIC participants through retail purchase and home delivery; and (2) had contracted for the home delivery portion of their distribution systems, which is where potential savings existed.

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