CGI Statement: House SNAP/Medicaid restrictions 'punitive'
DES MOINES (April 13, 3023) — Common Good Iowa released the following statement from Executive Director Anne Discher regarding Iowa House consideration Thursday of Senate File 494, legislation to restrict eligibility for SNAP and Medicaid:
“One in seven working households in Iowa do not earn enough to meet a basic-needs household budget. This is the face of poverty, and Iowa lawmakers supporting Senate File 494 are choosing to ignore that reality by making it tougher on struggling families to get the food and health care they need. Whether legislators intend this result is meaningless. It is the result we will get.
“It’s a particularly jarring result given that many of the same lawmakers supporting this bill earlier this session rejected putting any income restrictions on vouchers for private, religious school tuition. Yet here they are, comfortable putting unreasonable, punitive asset restrictions on Iowans struggling just to get enough to eat.
“As one of our staff members, Natalie Veldhouse, noted at an earlier legislative hearing, 'No one is better off when someone else loses food or the medical assistance that they need.’
“This bill also fails common sense. If lawmakers wanted to make sure the state is focusing on serving families who need help, they would not make it more difficult for eligible families to be served. They certainly would not spend more to do so. Both of these will happen. People eligible for benefits will be kicked off, and Iowa taxpayers will pay more administrative costs to make it happen.”
- The state Department of Health and Human Services would need to hire 218 new full-time employees to process the extra paperwork. (Fiscal Note, Iowa Legislative Services Agency, March 24)
- Zero state savings in the first two years — only added expenses. (Fiscal Note)
- Only $200,000 in state savings the third year before reaching $8.2 million the fourth year. (Fiscal Note)
- Any savings come at a great cost of lost federal dollars to the state for benefits, overwhelmingly in Medicaid, which will have a serious impact on Iowans needing health care and Iowans who provide it.
- Cutting SNAP benefits with this legislation only brings costs from a state budget standpoint; SNAP benefits are solely from federal funds.
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