Speaking Out! Health reform repeal attempt #33?
Health reform repeal attempt #33?
The House last week voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act. This seems logical enough, even though the law is great for kids, because many members of the House campaigned with a rally cry of “repeal!” What’s crazy is that this was attempt number 33 to repeal the health reform law.
Even health reform opponents should agree that perhaps it’s time to work together on improving the country’s health system. Surely we can all get behind the end of “pre-existing conditions” for children? But the obstructionism continues, and now state governments could create a setback for child health by opting-out of a planned expansion of Medicaid.
Under the health reform law as passed in 2010, states would expand the eligibility of Medicaid, which helps low-income families get care. When the law fully takes effect, Medicaid should grow to cover people up to 133 percent of the federal poverty line ($14,856 a year for an individual, $30,656 a year for a four-person household). But the Supreme Court decision on health reform removed the penalty for states backing out of the expansion.
Now it looks like some state governments plan to do just that. Texas Governor Rick Perry announced recently that his state would fight health reform “intrusions” and not expand its Medicaid program. This is a shame, because not only will many Texans in need lose access to care, but the state economy could also suffer. Texas is turning away $70 billion over six years in federal aid by refusing to expand Medicaid.
“Our economy would benefit from this infusion, and our stretched health care system needs the boost,” said Eileen Garcia, chief executive of Texans Care for Children, one of our Texas member organizations, in a story in the New York Times.
In other words, fighting the Medicaid expansion is crazy – just as crazy as voting to repeal the whole law 33 times.
Food stamps in danger as cuts advance in the House
Food aid to needy families would be cut under legislation passed in a House committee last week. The House Agriculture Committee voted to slash $16 billion from food stamps (now known as SNAP). How would ordinary Americans feel this?
- 500,000 households would see their benefits cut by $90 per month.
- 2 to 3 million individuals would lose their food assistance entirely.
- Nearly 300,000 kids would lose free school meals.
Proponents of the cuts say that slashing SNAP’s budget is necessary to control the growth of the program. But the program has only grown because more Americans need help. If you stack up a graph of unemployment with a graph of SNAP enrollment over time (like we did in our infographic from last fall), it’s clear more Americans simply need help in the wake of the recession.
Congress: Don’t enact these callous cuts to struggling Americans. Protect SNAP, a program that is protecting children in need.