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SNAP Caseloads Falling More Quickly in 2017

Wed, 19 Jul 2017 20:19:27 +0000

SNAP (formerly food stamp) caseloads and spending continue to fall in 2017, the latest Agriculture and Treasury Department data show. (See graph.) These drops counter some policymakers’ assertions that they need to cut SNAP deeply to curb its growth.

Senate Health Bill Waivers Would Undermine Key Consumer Protections for People with Pre-Existing Conditions

Wed, 19 Jul 2017 19:41:13 +0000

The bill would cut coverage and raise costs even without the Cruz amendment.

House Budget Would Cut Non-Defense Programs to Historic Lows

Wed, 19 Jul 2017 17:52:13 +0000

In her budget plan, House Budget Committee Chair Diane Black directed some of her most draconian cuts at non-defense discretionary (NDD) programs, which promote opportunity, provide building blocks for economic growth, and fund basic public services, among many other things.   These programs have been squeezed considerably since 2010 under the 2011 Budget Control Act (BCA), but the House budget would shrink them to historic lows.  By 2027, the budget plan’s final year, NDD spending would:

Repeal-Without-Replace Even More Harmful Than Failed Senate Bill

Tue, 18 Jul 2017 21:38:13 +0000

Senator Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is pursuing legislation that would cost even more people their health coverage, raise premiums in the individual market even higher, and inflict even more damage to insurance markets than the ACA repeal bill that just died in the Senate because it lacked the votes to pass.

Senate Health Bill Would Penalize Arizona for Its Innovative and Efficient Medicaid Program

Tue, 18 Jul 2017 21:10:19 +0000

Arizona’s Medicaid program, the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS), has been one of the nation’s most innovative programs since its creation in 1982, taking full advantage of the expansive flexibility Medicaid provides.  It’s also highly efficient, using managed care to help provide low-cost, high-quality care to 1.9 million beneficiaries.[1]  Both of the bills most recently under discussion in the Senate — the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA) and a bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) without repla

Another Argument for ACA Repeal Bites the Dust

Tue, 18 Jul 2017 19:06:32 +0000

While the Senate bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) appears dead for now, efforts to undo the ACA’s Medicaid expansion — which has enabled 11 million low-income people to get health coverage — will likely continue. So let’s put to rest the thoroughly debunked claim that the Medicaid expansion has enlarged state waiting lists for home- and community-based services (HCBS), which give people needing long-term health care services an alternative to nursing homes.

Greenstein: Harsh House GOP Budget Resolution Asks Most from Those Who Have Least

Tue, 18 Jul 2017 18:32:58 +0000

The budget resolution lays out an exceedingly harsh vision for the nation.

Previewing the House GOP Budget Plan

Mon, 17 Jul 2017 21:36:22 +0000

Updated 7:45pm EST. 

Freedom Caucus “Welfare Reform” Bill Would Increase Poverty and Hardship Without Helping People Succeed in the Labor Market

Mon, 17 Jul 2017 20:23:58 +0000

House Freedom Caucus Chair Mark Meadows, Freedom Caucus member Jim Jordan, and Senators Ted Cruz and Mike Lee have introduced legislation that would strip many poor families of access to basic food assistance, income assistance, and help paying rent.[1]  Their bill, labeled the Welfare Reform and Upward Mobility Act, would impose unrealistic, expensive, unfunded requirements on states, compelling them to impose — in their SNAP (formerly called food stamps) and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) programs — rigid work p

Economic Security Programs Help Low-Income Children Succeed Over Long Term

Mon, 17 Jul 2017 15:23:46 +0000

Low family income can have lasting adverse effects on children, and government programs that bolster family income can help poor children catch up and succeed over the long term, growing evidence shows.

Despite Soothing Rhetoric, House’s Planned “Reconciliation” Cuts Would Hurt Struggling Families

Mon, 17 Jul 2017 14:54:20 +0000

A large share of the cuts likely will come from programs that provide basic assistance to families with low or modest incomes.

No Difference: New Senate Bill Would Still Effectively Bar More States from Expanding Medicaid

Mon, 17 Jul 2017 14:32:44 +0000

The new version of the Senate Republican bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA), as we explained about the previous version, would effectively end the ACA’s Medicaid expansion in the 31 states and Washington, D.C. that adopted it, causing millions to become uninsured. It would also make it nearly impossible for more states to expand in the future, denying future coverage to millions of uninsured Americans.

Waivers Can’t Solve the Problems Created by Massive Federal Medicaid Cuts

Sat, 15 Jul 2017 15:10:36 +0000

Trump Administration officials are reportedly trying to win Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval’s support for the Senate Republican health bill by offering him a waiver of Medicaid rules that would give Nevada funds to supplement the coverage that would be available to low-income people in the private insurance market. This approach wouldn’t come close to meeting the test Gov.

In Case You Missed It…

Fri, 14 Jul 2017 21:23:38 +0000

This week at CBPP, we focused on health care, the federal budget and taxes, Social Security and Medicare, housing, food assistance, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), and the economy.

Contrary to Republican Claims, Revised Senate Health Bill Provides No Additional Funding for States

Fri, 14 Jul 2017 21:11:33 +0000

The state grants are only a small fraction of the bill’s cuts to coverage programs.

Senate’s Rush to Vote Designed to Hide Health Bill’s Damaging Impacts

Fri, 14 Jul 2017 20:55:45 +0000

An earlier draft of the Senate’s bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) would cause 22 million people to lose coverage, raise costs for millions more, and remove key protections for people with pre-existing conditions, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimated last month. The newer draft of the bill released yesterday does nothing — as we’ve explained — to alter those basic conclusions.

Many Lawfully Present Immigrants Would Lose Affordable Health Coverage Under Senate Plan

Fri, 14 Jul 2017 20:08:38 +0000

Many would lose coverage altogether and many more would end up with coverage that isn’t adequate to meet their needs.

No “Fix”: Revised Senate Bill Still Puts Coverage for American Indians, Alaska Natives at Risk

Fri, 14 Jul 2017 19:32:27 +0000

American Indians and Alaska Natives (AI/ANs) have benefited greatly from the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) coverage expansions, with 290,000 AI/ANs now enrolled in Medicaid, as we’ve explained.

Despite Republican Claims, Beneficiaries Don’t Think Medicaid Is Broken

Fri, 14 Jul 2017 14:27:51 +0000

To justify their proposals for sweeping cuts to Medicaid, Republican congressional leaders and Trump Administration officials frequently claim that it provides poor quality and access to care. But these claims are false, as a new study underscores.

Alaska Carveout in Revised Senate Health Bill’s State Stability Fund Doesn’t Address Unique Harms to Alaska

Fri, 14 Jul 2017 13:04:56 +0000

Updated 5:30 PM EDT

As we’ve explained, Alaska is among the most harmed states under the Senate health bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The bill reduces tax credits that help people afford individual market health insurance more sharply for Alaskans than for people in any other state, while also cutting Alaska’s Medicaid program deeply and eliminating key benefits for Alaska Natives.

Social Security and Medicare Finances Remain Stable, According to 2017 Trustees’ Reports

Thu, 13 Jul 2017 23:31:46 +0000

The financial outlook for Social Security and Medicare is much the same as last year.

Economic Security Programs Help Low-Income Children Succeed Over Long Term, Many Studies Find

Thu, 13 Jul 2017 21:05:32 +0000

Economic security programs can blunt these negative effects of poverty and bring poor children closer to equal opportunity, numerous studies find. 

Wealthy, Corporations Still Win Big Under Revised Senate GOP Health Bill

Thu, 13 Jul 2017 19:23:56 +0000

Senate Republicans have removed two of their health bill’s many regressive tax cuts — those repealing the so-called Medicare taxes (the additional 0.9 percent Hospital Insurance payroll tax on high-income people and the 3.8 percent tax on unearned income) — to address concerns that the bill favors the wealthy. “It’s not an acceptable proposition to have a bill that increases the burden on lower-income citizens and lessens the burden on wealthy citizens,” Senator Bob Corker has stated.

Lessons from TANF: Initial Unequal State Block-Grant Funding Formula Grew More Unequal Over Time

Thu, 13 Jul 2017 19:03:27 +0000

The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families’ (TANF) block grant offers valuable lessons for why the House Republicans’ proposal to convert Medicaid into a block grant or per capita cap poses considerable risks for states.  The TANF experience shows that block grants are a bad deal for states, particularly those that are poor or experiencing disproportionate population growth or change.  In addition, efforts in TANF to address population change and hard economic times within the constraints of the funding formula have been found to be inadequate and unsustainable over time.

SNAP Supports Seniors’ Health

Thu, 13 Jul 2017 18:01:53 +0000

A Senate Special Committee on Aging hearing on proper nutrition and seniors’ health highlighted the risk of malnutrition and poor health among older adults and their links to limited access to nutritious food. Many seniors are food insecure, meaning that they have problems affording nutritious, adequate food.

Tax Cuts for the Wealthy Would Do Little to Help Small Businesses and the Economy

Wed, 12 Jul 2017 21:25:10 +0000

Chairman Roskam, Ranking Member Doggett, and other members of the Subcommittee, thank you for the opportunity to testify today on how tax reform could affect small businesses. I would like to offer five points:

Abandoning Bipartisan Approach of Providing Equal Relief from Tight Funding Limits, House Republicans Boosting Defense Substantially, Cutting Non-Defense

Wed, 12 Jul 2017 21:14:51 +0000

House Republicans are proposing to treat defense and non-defense discretionary (NDD) programs in a way that would fundamentally alter one of the few areas of bipartisan consensus in recent years.

How the Senate Health Bill Would Affect Health Insurance Coverage in Kansas

Wed, 12 Jul 2017 18:57:00 +0000

The Senate health bill would impact the availability, quality, and affordability of coverage for tens of thousands of people in Kansas. The Urban Institute estimates that the bill would cause 120,000 Kansans to lose coverage in 2022.[1] That would increase the state’s uninsured rate among non-elderly residents from 13.6 percent to 18.3 percent, a 35 percent increase.

Previewing the Social Security and Medicare Trustees’ Reports

Wed, 12 Jul 2017 18:13:26 +0000

The Social Security and Medicare trustees will release their annual reports on the programs’ finances tomorrow and, though we don’t know how the projections may change from last year’s, we expect them to tell a similar story: Social Security and Medicare face real but manageable financial challenges and are neither unaffordable nor “bankrupt,” as

Senate Health Bill Would Put Coverage Out of Reach for Millions of Low-Income People

Wed, 12 Jul 2017 17:53:17 +0000

The Senate’s Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA) — like its House-passed counterpart, the    American Health Care Act (AHCA) — would effectively end the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) Medicaid expansion for adults with incomes below 138 percent of the poverty line, which has expanded coverage to 11 million people.  While some Republican members of Congress have claimed that people losing Medicaid expansion coverage could purchase insurance in the individual market, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) determined that most of those losing Medicaid coverage would end up uninsured, as would ma

House Bill Cuts Tax Services for Low-Income and Elderly Filers, Enables Large-Scale Tax Avoidance by Wealthy

Wed, 12 Jul 2017 17:24:59 +0000

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) funding bill before the House Appropriations Committee this week doesn’t just add to years of deep cuts that have undermined tax enforcement and harmed customer service. It also cuts funding in half for programs that help low-income and elderly taxpayers file their taxes, while blocking the IRS from limiting a particular type of estate tax avoidance by the country’s wealthiest families.

House Considering More IRS Cuts

Wed, 12 Jul 2017 17:12:09 +0000

Policymakers have cut the IRS budget sharply since 2010, weakening the agency’s ability to serve taxpayers and enforce the nation’s tax laws. Even so, House Republicans continue to target the IRS for deeper cuts. The House Appropriations Committee will consider a bill this week that cuts IRS funding by another $149 million. Adjusted for inflation, this would bring the IRS budget to $405 million below its 2017 level and $2.9 billion below its 2010 level — a 21 percent cut (see chart). Continued IRS cuts would further weaken the agency, embolden tax cheats, and harm honest taxpayers.

Deficits Under Trump Budget Even Bigger Than CBO Expected to Show

Wed, 12 Jul 2017 15:52:20 +0000

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) analysis of President Trump’s 2018 budget, due out tomorrow, will likely show the budget reducing the deficit by considerably less than the $5.6 trillion over ten years that the Administration claims. That’s mainly because CBO likely won’t accept the Administration’s claim that its policies would generate enough added economic growth to reduce deficits by more than $2 trillion over the coming decade. CBO may also project lower savings from some of the President’s proposals, particularly those with scant details to support their savings estimates.

Trump’s Housing Proposals Would Raise Rents on Struggling Families, Seniors, and People with Disabilities

Wed, 12 Jul 2017 15:41:52 +0000

President Trump’s 2018 budget could raise rents on up to 4 million low-income households that get federal rental assistance, as our new analysis shows, with some of the largest increases falling on families and individuals that struggle the most to afford housing.

The budget would increase rents by:

Cruz Amendment Would Worsen Already Harmful Senate Health Bill for People with Medical Conditions

Wed, 12 Jul 2017 14:37:12 +0000

Senator Ted Cruz has proposed modifying the Senate Republican health bill to allow any insurer that offers at least one plan satisfying the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) market reforms and consumer protections to also sell other plans in the individual market that do not comply with these standards.  That would eviscerate protections for people with pre-existing conditions, which the Senate bill as drafted would already drastically weaken.

Coverage for American Indians and Alaska Natives at Risk Under Senate GOP Health Bill

Tue, 11 Jul 2017 20:14:28 +0000

American Indians and Alaska Natives (AI/ANs) have a unique legal relationship with the federal government that provides them with specific rights, protections, and services, including the right to health care. Despite the assurance of health care, AI/ANs face persistent health disparities, including a high uninsurance rate, barriers to accessing care, and significant physical and mental health needs.  Like many other groups, AI/ANs have benefited greatly from the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) coverage expansions. 

Trump Budget’s Housing Proposals Would Raise Rents on Struggling Families, Seniors, and People with Disabilities

Tue, 11 Jul 2017 18:51:17 +0000

Some of the largest increases fall on families and individuals that struggle the most to afford housing.

CRFB: Senate Bill Cuts Medicaid $2.6 Trillion in Second Decade

Tue, 11 Jul 2017 16:08:16 +0000

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that the Senate Republican health bill’s Medicaid cuts would deepen significantly in the second decade, with the cuts growing from 26 percent in 2026 to 35 percent in 2036, relative to current law.

Will House Avert Cuts in Rental Aid?

Mon, 10 Jul 2017 20:20:41 +0000

When a House subcommittee considers the 2018 funding bill for the departments of Transportation and Housing and Urban Development (HUD) tomorrow evening, a key question will be: will it sustain the rental aid that now enables 4.8 million low-income households — nearly all of which include seniors, people with disabilities, or children — to afford decent, stable homes?

Senate Health Bill Can’t Be Fixed

Mon, 10 Jul 2017 17:51:11 +0000

The amended version of the Senate bill released July 13 maintains the same core structural features.

In Case You Missed It…

Fri, 07 Jul 2017 19:09:15 +0000

This week at CBPP, we focused on health care, food assistance, and the economy.

A Graphic Look at a Medicaid Per Capita Cap

Fri, 07 Jul 2017 14:14:11 +0000

Our new explainer shows why converting Medicaid to a per capita cap — a core part of the House and Senate Republican bills to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) — would shift large costs and risks to states, threatening coverage and access to care for the more than 70 million low-income children, seniors, and people with disabilities who rely on Medicaid.

Senate Health Bill Pays Lip Service to Home- and Community-Based Services, But Imposes Deep Cuts

Fri, 07 Jul 2017 14:05:06 +0000

The Senate Republican health bill directs the Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary to implement procedures to encourage states to adopt or extend home- and community-based services (HCBS) Medicaid waiver programs, which allow seniors and people with disabilities, including children with complex health care needs, to stay in their homes.

Latest Effort to Discredit CBO Health Coverage Estimates Falls Flat

Thu, 06 Jul 2017 14:14:04 +0000

Congressional Republicans and the Trump Administration have repeatedly sought to discredit the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) findings that the House and Senate health bills would cause more than 20 million Americans to lose coverage. Previously, they disparaged CBO’s forecasting record, even though CBO’s estimates of coverage gains under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) were about right.

Senate GOP Bill Would End Medicaid Expansion Coverage for Many Low-Wage Workers

Thu, 06 Jul 2017 12:26:41 +0000

The Senate Republican bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) would effectively end the ACA’s Medicaid expansion starting in 2021, leaving millions of low-wage workers who gained coverage through the expansion uninsured and without access to needed care, as we detail in several new state fact sheets.

Senate Bill Would Devastate Health Care in Rural America

Wed, 05 Jul 2017 21:23:18 +0000

The Senate health bill — the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA) — would, like the House-passed bill, effectively end the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) Medicaid expansion, radically restructure virtually the entire Medicaid program through a per capita cap, and replace the ACA’s premium tax credit with a much smaller tax credit that would make coverage unaffordable for millions of people looking to purchase coverage in the individual market.

Medicaid Per Capita Cap Shifts Costs to States

Wed, 05 Jul 2017 16:01:56 +0000

Current Law

The federal government picks up a fixed share of states’ Medicaid costs, averaging 57% across the states. Each state’s share is based on its residents’ average incomes, relative to the nation’s, though certain population groups and services receive higher matching rates. For Medicaid beneficiaries who enrolled under the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion, the federal share is 90%.

Voices from SNAP’s Founding Warn Against Anti-Hunger Backslide

Wed, 05 Jul 2017 15:05:16 +0000

Proposed massive cuts in SNAP, like those in President Trump’s budget, represent “a stunning attempt to reverse the slow but steady progress we have made” against hunger in recent decades, Georgetown Law Professor Peter Edelman and Rep. Joe Kennedy III explain in a Time op-ed.