For Immediate Release: June 20, 2019
MBP Urges Trump Administration to Reject Change That Would Undercut Safety Net
Press Statement by Amy Blouin, President & CEO of the Missouri Budget Project
The Missouri Budget Project and more than forty organizations from across Missouri urged the Trump administration to reject a change to a key poverty measure that would ultimately cut vital health care, child care, food, and other assistance to Missourians struggling to make ends meet.
At issue is an Administrative proposal to use a lower measure of inflation to calculate annual adjustments to the poverty measure used by the U.S. Census Bureau. The U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has requested comments on the proposal, which the Administration could move forward with any time after the June 21st deadline for submitting comments.
Although the OMB proposal focuses on the Census Bureau’s definition of poverty, the Census measure is often used as a basis for determining the official Federal Poverty Level, defined by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which determines eligibility for a variety of assistance programs, like Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance, child care, school lunches, legal aid, and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
We strongly urge the Administration to reconsider this proposal. Over time, this change would significantly reduce eligibility for things like Medicaid, child care, SNAP, and school meals – all of which are the very services that can help struggling families weather hard times.
The impact of the proposal is broad. Kids, seniors, and people with disabilities would face growing cuts to their health care over time. Families would lose eligibility for nutrition assistance that helps them put dinner on the table, and kids could face the loss of free or reduced-priced school lunches.
We know that anti-poverty programs that raise a family’s resources are associated with improvement in children’s health outcomes, educational achievement, and long-term earnings. Unfortunately, while there is ample evidence that incomes near the poverty line are too low to make ends meet, the proposed change focuses on one questionable change that would instead lower the poverty line.
What’s more, the cuts to key programs for low-income Americans that the proposal would generate stand in stark contrast to 2017 federal tax changes, which directed most of their generous tax cuts to high-income households and profitable corporations.
We urge Congress to encourage the Administration to reject this damaging proposal.
The Missouri Budget Project is nonprofit public policy organization that
analyzes state budget, tax, health and economic issues.