Don’t cut public aid that helps maintain health
Work demands for those using public assistance programs such as the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) can negatively affect the health outcomes of beneficiaries and limit their performance. ability to find stable employment, says a resolution presented at WADA’s special meeting in June 2021.
“Food insecurity is associated with a higher risk of chronic diseases, including diabetes, obesity, depression and hypertension. We need to ensure that all families have access to nutritional food options rather than erecting bureaucratic barriers to these programs, ”said AMA administrator Thomas J. Madejski, MD.
Barriers have the potential to particularly restrict coverage for anyone with chronic illnesses, including mental illness and substance use disorders. This is particularly critical in light of the job losses linked to the pandemic by the millions. Many recipients only enroll in public assistance programs after losing their jobs, and more than 80% say they found a new job within a year of starting SNAP benefits, the resolution says.
With these facts in mind, the WADA House of Delegates adopted a new policy to:
- Support the elimination of work requirements used as eligibility criteria in public assistance programs, including SNAP and TANF.
- Work with state medical corporations to encourage states to establish expressway eligibility programs that use eligibility data from the maximum number of possible expressway agencies, including SNAP, TANF, and other programs outlined by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, to facilitate enrollment in Medicaid and the Children’s Medicare program.
Say no to the lifetime ban on food stamps
Under federal law, anyone convicted of a drug-related crime is not eligible for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits. Yet being eligible for SNAP and Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) upon release from prison reduced a person’s risk of returning to prison within a year by up to 10%, according to the report. a study cited in a separate resolution presented at WADA’s special meeting.
In 2019, three states and territories had a lifetime ban, 24 states changed the SNAP ban to exclude only those convicted of a drug-related crime, and 25 states repealed the ban completely. Being able to access SNAP benefits has been linked to improved health and more preventative check-ups, the resolution says.
To overcome the barriers that federal law creates to these benefits, delegates adopted a policy to “oppose any lifetime bans on SNAP benefits imposed on those convicted of drug crimes.”
Check out other highlights from WADA’s June 2021 special meeting.