SNAPchat: News from Policy Matters
Posted September 16, 2017 in eNews
The data is in: The U.S. Census Bureau released income and poverty data this week proving what many of us already know: Federal programs like food aid, refundable tax credits, Social Security and the Affordable Care Act make Americans healthier and less poor. Hannah Halbert found that last year marked the first time ever that three important indicators: the nation’s health insurance rates, poverty rates and income levels all improved for two years in a row. In Ohio, our uninsurance rate dropped to one of the lowest in the country. By other measures, we still have a lot to do. Poverty rates barely budged and median income grew – but only an iota. The data shows that entrenched structural racism erects barriers to success for people of color. Thirty-one percent of black Ohioans lived in poverty last year compared to 11.2 percent of white Ohioans. Hannah also crunched new monthly job and employment numbers. Nearly a decade out, Ohio’s labor force is still down 223,000 people since the start of the recession.
Oh Snap! One thing that will not help Ohio’s economy is cutting federal food aid, according to Victoria Jackson’s latest report. Nearly 1,000 Ohio businesses redeemed $2.4 billion in Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits last year. Most childless, non-disabled adults who receive SNAP work, but the majority of SNAP recipients are children, elderly or have disabilities. Hannah, partners at the National Skills Coalition and others pushed to make SNAP more effective at lifting Ohioans out of poverty. Thanks to that work, Ohio policymakers are exploring a federal program that will pay half the costs of training and educating SNAP recipients. Outreach coordinator Daniel Ortiz joined Hannah and Victoria for a “SNAPchat” on Facebook live.
The zombie rises again: I know, we’re just as sick of it as you are – but a group of U.S. senators breathed new life into efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act this week with the Cassidy-Graham bill. It’s the same idea as the awful bills we saw before. Contact Senator Rob Portman and tell him to vote no!
Washington, D.C.: 202-224-3353
But there is hope! A bi-partisan group of governors including John Kasich hope to preserve and expand on coverage gains from the ACA by focusing on reducing individual premiums, bolstering insurance coverage and controlling rising health care costs. The devil is in the details, but according to our newest staffer, Katie Fallon, the plan has promise.
In the community: Researcher Michael Shields warmed up the crowd (see photo) at the Good Jobs Nation Labor Day rally in Youngstown. He also presented his youth workforce paper to the Ohio Urban Resource Systems in Columbus. Daniel talked federal budget with members of Indivisible District 12 and spoke to students at Case Western University about transit and clean energy. Executive Director Amy Hanauer spoke to school bus drivers, custodians and other public school employees in Columbus.