Have a Heart for Kids Day is your day to speak up for kids. Right now, your voice matters. Join hundreds of child, youth, and family advocates from across Washington State and speak up for kids!
A recent editorial says deep cuts to food stamps in the Farm Bill would hurt 234,000 Washington families. In other news, a strong advocate in Lacey gets recognition for protecting State Food Assistance for 12,500 hungry children in Washington. In national news, an amendment to prevent a $4.5 billion cut to food stamps is voted down in the U.S. Senate. The Affordable Care Act’s health coverage expansion to 49 million parents is good for kids, and President Obama’s new immigration policy to protect young people will make waves in early learning.
The exchange is a new way of selling health insurance, making it easier to comparison shop, like buying an airline ticket at an online site such as Expedia or Travelocity. The secret ingredients that make the exchange work are federal subsidies. If you’re low-income, or even middle-income in some cases, you’ll get federal help to buy health insurance through the exchange. Cheap insurance is a strong incentive, “the carrot we need,” to get people to buy insurance, says Rep. Eileen Cody (D).
Too many Americans are still out of work to justify cuts to the food stamp program. Democrats and Republicans banded together in the Senate to defeat an amendment by Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., to slash spending on the program nearly in half. Still, a version of the 2012 Farm Bill passed by the Senate Agriculture Committee and being debated by the Senate floor contains a $4.5 billion reduction over the next decade to the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program budget.
On May 31, nonprofit child advocacy group Children’s Alliance presented the “Voices for Children” award to Juji Jally, a Marshall Island native living in Lacey, Wash. Jally is recognized for her work in saving Washington State Food Assistance, a program which offers a lifeline for documented immigrants who don’t qualify for federal food stamps. Jally took a high-profile role in the Children’s Alliance campaign, testifying in Olympia, speaking at press conferences, and gathering support from community members.
Prior to the law, young adults were the least likely demographic to have health insurance -- and were almost twice as likely to forgo insurance as older Americans, said Kathleen Sebelius, secretary of Health and Human Services. That led some to take jobs they otherwise would not have chosen simply for the security of health insurance, and others to eschew regular preventative care, she said.
An amendment removing cuts to food stamp funding was defeated Tuesday. The amendment, sponsored by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), would have removed an amendment in the Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act of 2012 (S. 3240) which cuts $4.5 billion from the federal food stamp program. The amendment was voted down, 33 to 66.
While we've made great strides in bringing down the uninsured rate for children in the past decade, the uninsured rate for parents and other adults has soared as employers dropped health plans, insurers went unchecked in charging higher premiums and many adults lost their coverage when they became ill or lost a job. That's why the Affordable Care Act's extension of cost-effective Medicaid coverage to more uninsured adults is so essential.
President Obama’s announcement Friday that his administration will stop deporting eligible undocumented people under the age of 30 is certain to provide fodder for more election-season debates over immigration. Politics aside, however, the new policy will certainly make waves in early learning centers, schools and social services agencies, where children and young parents affected by the new policy are likely to interact with schools and government programs in new ways.
SNAP is an essential lifeline for millions of Americans who struggle to put food on the table while paying for basic necessities. According to the Congressional Budget Office, the $4.5 billion cut proposed by the Senate would slice a family’s benefits by $90 each month... How many children will become hungrier and lack the nutrients they desperately need to grow and learn?
Despite the proven success of SNAP in effectively responding to the needs of struggling families, numerous amendments have been submitted to the Senate Farm Bill that pose serious threats to the program. Yesterday's vote killed Senator Rand Paul's amendment (SA #2182) to end the SNAP program and replace it with a block grant with a set annual funding level well below current levels, cutting SNAP nearly in half. In addition, the amendment would have provided no adjustments for increases in food prices or cost of living in the upcoming years, and would have crippled SNAP's ability to respond to the next recession.