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Washington, D.C. – Bread for the World warned that the new Republican health plan would increase hunger and food insecurity in the United States. President Trump has endorsed the plan, and it is moving toward a vote in the House of Representatives.
“The health plan that President Trump has endorsed would take hundreds of billions of dollars away from low-income Americans,” said Rev. David Beckmann, president of Bread for the World. “It would certainly increase hunger among American children.”
The proposed American Health Care Act would cap funding for Medicaid, so families in poverty would receive less help with the costs of health care. It would also phase out the expansion of Medicaid that was part of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). This would take insurance away from 11 million people just above the poverty line.
In addition, the proposed health care replacement bill would reduce subsidies that have made it possible for millions of middle-class families to purchase health insurance.
“If working families do not have health insurance, they often have to scrimp on food for their children if someone in the family gets really sick,” said Beckmann. “Maintaining the health insurance coverage that the Affordable Care Act has achieved would help to maintain recent gains against hunger and poverty.”
The expansion of health care coverage under the ACA has contributed to declines in U.S. hunger and poverty over the last few years. Before the ACA, 1 in 3 people with chronic medical conditions had to choose between receiving medical treatment and purchasing food for their family.
According to an updated analysis released by Harvard University economist David Cutler and his co-authors, people with incomes below 250 percent of the federal poverty line would see their costs increase by $2,945 this year. By 2020, their health care costs would increase by $4,061.
Widespread hunger is a significant cause of disease and high health care costs. Bread for the World’s 2016 hunger report, The Nourishing Effect, estimates the cost of hunger and food insecurity to our healthcare system at $160 billion per year.
“Hunger and poverty make people sick, and a powerful way to address rising health care costs in our country would be to reduce hunger,” added Beckmann.
Afghanistan would be considered likely to have high rates of hunger because at least two of the major causes of global hunger affect it—armed conflict and fragile governmental institutions.
Malnutrition is responsible for nearly half of all preventable deaths among children under 5. Every year, the world loses hundreds of thousands of young children and babies to hunger-related causes.
Bread for the World is calling on the Biden-Harris administration and Congress to build a better 1,000-Days infrastructure in the United States.
“As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him and established in faith.” These words from Colossians 2:6 remind us of the faith that is active in love for our neighbors.
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The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is designed to respond to changes in need, making it well suited to respond to crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic.
Bread for the World and its partners are asking Congress to provide $200 million for global nutrition.
In 2017, 11.8 percent of households in the U.S.—40 million people—were food-insecure, meaning that they were unsure at some point during the year about how they would provide for their next meal.