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June 27, 2019

40 Groups Join NPAF to Say to OMB: Don’t Take Basic Benefits Away from Millions of Americans

Forty non-profit organizations, representing patients, religious groups, retirees and civil rights advocates, united in protest of a recent proposal by the Trump Administration that could take away health care, food and other basic assistance from millions of Americans. The organizations represent patients and other groups that rely on assistance programs for access to health care, food, housing and other safety net programs.

 

Under the proposal, the Administration would use a lower measure of inflation to adjust the federal poverty line each year. Over time, this change would disqualify millions from benefits; it would also reduce the amount lower- and middle-income Americans receive in tax subsidies through the Affordable Care Act.

 

Already, too many Americans who live in poverty are not accounted for in official measures. The measures are outdated, failing to account properly for the cost of living, including child care and housing costs.

 

“It is already too difficult to qualify for most assistance programs,” said Alan Balch, CEO of National Patient Advocate Foundation and Patient Advocate Foundation. “Changing the inflation measure won’t change the number of low-income people; it will only change the number of people who receive benefits. If the Administration makes it harder to qualify for safety net programs, more people—including children—will be living in poverty in the United States.”

 

“Our government has a moral duty to strengthen the social safety net,” said Siena Ruggeri, NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice. “The OMB’s proposed change to an inaccurate poverty measure will do just the opposite of that. In order to improve the economic security of those experiencing poverty, the Administration should expand access to social programs, not disqualify millions from the support they desperately need and deserve. We urge the OMB to work towards mending the gaps instead of sentencing millions to the vicious cycle of poverty.”

 

In submitted comments, the organizations stressed that lowering the measure of inflation would make any collected information about the number of Americans living in poverty less accurate. They also urged that the Administration consider the implications of poverty threshold changes on:

  • Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program eligibility
  • Nutritional assistance programs and housing subsidies
  • Medicare Part D low-income subsidy beneficiaries
  • Patients receiving Affordable Care Act premium tax credits and cost sharing reductions
  • State level health programs and the patients they serve

 

The organization included:

National Patient Advocate Foundation

The AIDS Institute

Cutaneous Lymphoma Foundation

Mended Little Hearts

Retire Safe

Mended Hearts

Mended Little Hearts

Coalition for Asian American Children and Families

Chinese-American Planning Council

Illinois Association for Behavioral Health

Behavioral Health Association of Providers

League of Women Voters of the United States

American Muslim Health Professionals

National Women’s Health Network

National Council of Jewish Women

San Francisco AIDS Foundation

National Black Gay Men’s Advocacy Coalition

Coalition for Disability Health Equity

Consumer Health First

Impetus – Let’s Get Started LLC

School-Based Health Alliance

The Latino Health Insurance Program, Inc.

Go2 Foundation for Lung Cancer

Sakhi for South Asian Women

Children’s Home Society of America

Prevent Cancer Foundation

National LGBTQ Task Force

Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy Association

Epilepsy Foundation

YWCA of Queens

Khmer Health Advocates Inc.

NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice

Alliance for Aging Research

Young Invincibles

National Viral Hepatitis Roundtable

National Viral Hepatitis Roundtable (NVHR)

LUNGevity Foundation

Korean Community Services of Metropolitan NY

Center for Independence of the Disabled, NY

Korean Community Services of Metropolian New York

YWCA of Queens