WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--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 healthcare. 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 healthcare 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 healthcare 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 healthcare costs would increase by $4,061.
Widespread hunger is a significant cause of disease and high healthcare 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 healthcare costs in our country would be to reduce hunger,” added Beckmann.
Bread for the World (www.bread.org) is a collective Christian voice urging our nation’s decision makers to end hunger at home and abroad.