CBPP's Dr. Joseph Llobrera Discusses the Administration's Proposed Cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)


Can you. Provide a brief primer or background on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. Sure David Wanted to start off by saying that snap is proven highly effective program. It's vital to our nation's health and wellbeing and it's been shown to reduce poverty reduce food insecurity and improve health outcomes. And I WANNA come to those outcomes in just a minute but before that wanted to start off with some basics Snap as an entitlement which means it provides benefits to anyone who meets the programs eligibility requirements. this design means that it can respond quickly when needs increase We most saw this inaction during the last recession when it expanded to meet the needs of millions of Americans who are losing their jobs and losing their source of income It helps Close to forty million Americans each month and the vast majority of those are recipients in families with kids Older adults or those with disabilities At this point about eighty five percent of individuals that are eligible for the program participate. So it's Participant participation rates have improved over the past decade or so Participants received benefits through a debit card That can be used at over a quarter of a million retailers across the country Last year about fifty billion In benefits were distributed to Participating households I wanted to say that benefits are relatively modest They average about two hundred fifty dollars a month for the average household. I if you and if you do the math comes out to an average of about a dollar and forty cents per person per meal But despite those benefit levels those modest benefit levels snap has been shown to deliver strong outcomes reduces poverty so it it it's been shown to raise the income of millions of people and children out of poverty and and makes millions of Americans lest poor It's anti-poverty effect is larger than any other safety. Net program outside of The earned income tax credit child tax credit combination The other thing is the benefits are targeted fish. Lately to those with the greatest need Very poor households get the largest. Get larger and benefits kind of scaled. Down as household income. Goes up So the other area that's The literature shown snap having great if Impact is reducing food insecurity Participation in snap reduces food insecurity By up to thirty percent among Snap households that join That participated in the program and When if you were calling I referenced. The Recovery Act During the last recession snap benefits were increased across the board and we saw that With that boosting benefits Food Insecurity rates came down for participating households When when it came time to cut those benefits if years later the inverse happened Benefits of cut the benefits increasing food insecurity and then. The last area wanted or bucket. I wanted to address was Links BETWEEN SNAP AND IMPROVED. Health Outcomes Investing in snap is an investment in the health and wellbeing of Americans snouts been linked with a wide range of improved health outcomes Adults receiving snap miss fewer days of work. Because of illness make fewer physician office visits are more likely to adhere to their medications and have a more positive self assessment of their health status event. There have been studies that have shown that receiving snap early in life can lead to improved outcomes. Not just now but years down the road. is GonNa Studies that have found that access to snap during pregnancy and childhood was associated with fewer low birth weight babies and reduced risk of out Abi City and other conditions related to heart disease and diabetes and adulthood There's a study that came out on health affairs last fall that found that snap was really Was associated with a one to one to two percentage point reduction in population wide mortality So the last piece I wanted to touch on was Is that snap? Participation has been associated with reduced healthcare expenditures One study found that annual medical care costs of low income adults that are participating in the program was about a thousand four hundred dollars less than similar non-participants. So that's about twenty five percent less than Comparable non-participants okay. Thank you Joseph. I know your organization last November. Put out a snap chart book which includes a good number of research findings relative to the pros performance on healthcare. I did note somewhere in my reading that For every dollar spent on snap between three sixty seven eight thousand three or four cents is estimated to be saved in health care costs. So thank you for that overview. Let's go now to what the current administration has proposed the last few years and is proposing again in the twenty twenty one administration's budget as proposed This was out about a month ago. Your Organization wrote and overview What affects the proposal would have and that was in a February eighteenth memo which will provide a link When I post this but let's go. What did what did the trump administration propose This this past month for funding And the snap program in fiscal year. Twenty sure David thanks So too high level this administration's budget And other proposals With significantly cut public services that help struggling households for the basics and that includes snap As you mentioned this administration's Twenty Twenty one budget was very similar to the previous to And snap it calls for cuts of more than one hundred eighty billion over the next decade That represents nearly thirty percent reduction in program funding I did want to note that. That's on top of fifty billion dollars in cuts that administration is seeking to affect through regulatory action. And I'm hoping we have a tiny host best Unemployed workers elderly individuals low income working families and with kids all bear. The brunt of these cuts Just for some specifics For the first sorry for the third time in three budget proposals Administration is proposing to hold back about forty percent of benefits that comes out to twenty to thirty billion a year Half of those of that amount would go to what the administration is calling America's harvest boxes and the other half those benefits that are held back would simply be eliminated Some of your listeners may have heard of the harvest box But just briefly. It's A. It's a box of shelf. Stable food products peanut butter canned goods including canned meats pasta cereal shelf stable milk and other similar products Those that harvest box would not include Fresh fruits and vegetables and participants wouldn't have To our knowledge wouldn't have a say in what they what they receive The administration has justified this. Change these cuts by claiming that the government can purchase box and distribute food commodities at a substantial reduced cost but it hasn't really pro provided any evidence to back that up

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