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Proposed changes to federal poverty line could hurt many

by Sarah Skillin Woodard

A study released last week by the Center for Budget Policy and Priorities (CBPP)  shows how the Trump administration’s proposal to change the way the federal government measures poverty could cause millions of people to lose health and food benefits.

The federal poverty line is used to determine who’s eligible for benefits like SNAP (food stamps), Medicaid and other assistance programs.

The CBPP estimated that by the 10th year of calculating the poverty line using something called chained CPI, millions of people would become ineligible for or receive less assistance.

Here is CBPP’s breakdown:

  • More than 250,000 adults would lose health insurance through Medicaid.
  • More than 300,000 kids and some pregnant women would lose health insurance through the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).
  • Millions of people would receive fewer subsidies for purchasing health insurance on the Obamacare marketplace, making it more expensive to do so.
  • More than 250,000 seniors and people with disabilities would lose or receive less access to the Medicare Part D subsidy program, forcing them to pay more for prescription drugs.
  • More than 150,000 seniors and people with disabilities would lose premium assistance for Medicare Part B, meaning they’d have to pay over $1,500 to see a doctor.
  • Nearly 200,000 people would lose food benefits through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
  • More than 100,000 students would become ineligible for free or reduced-price lunch, and more than 100,000 would lose free meals but remain eligible for reduced-price lunch.
  • About 40,000 infants and young children would lose access to care such as breastfeeding support and healthy food through the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC).

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