The Trump administration is going to use a sneaky statistical trick to cut billions of dollars in aid to the poor.
Trump is trying to cut aid to the poor by changing the definition of poverty
The Center For Budget and Policy Priorities explained, “A proposal the Trump Administration is considering to use a lower inflation measure to calculate annual adjustments to the federal poverty line ultimately would cut billions of dollars from federal health programs and cause millions of people to lose their eligibility for, or receive less help from, these programs. Many such programs use the poverty line to determine eligibility and benefits, and the cuts to these programs — and the numbers of people losing assistance altogether or receiving less help — would increase with each passing year.”
The number of people who would lose eligibility and benefits would compound each so that after ten years:
– More than 250,000 seniors and people with disabilities would lose their eligibility for, or receive less help from, Medicare’s Part D Low-Income Subsidy Program, meaning that they would pay higher premiums for drug coverage and more out of pocket for their prescription drugs. Meanwhile, more than 150,000 seniors and people with disabilities would lose help paying for Medicare premiums, meaning that they would have to pay premiums of over $1,500 per year to maintain Medicare physician coverage.
– More than 300,000 children would lose comprehensive coverage through Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), as would some pregnant women. In addition, more than 250,000 adults who gained Medicaid coverage from the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) expansion would lose it.
– More than 150,000 consumers who buy coverage through the ACA marketplaces would lose eligibility for or qualify for reduced cost-sharing assistance, increasing their deductibles by hundreds or even thousands of dollars. And tens of thousands would lose eligibility for premium tax credits altogether.
Trump will harm millions by making their poverty vanish on paper
Medicaid covers 83% of poor children, 48% of children with special needs, and 45% of mon-elderly adults with disabilities. Medicaid also covers 19% Medicare recipients, and 62% of nursing home residents. This is just one of the populations that Trump is trying to harm by redefining their poverty as no longer poor.
Trump can’t change the eligibility requirements for aid programs, so he is redefining poverty so that poor adults and children no longer meet the criteria for assistance. It is an abuse of power that will allow Trump to claim that he “ended poverty” while hurting millions of poor people.
The good news is that all of Trump’s actions can be reversed before they do too much long-term harm, but only if a Democratic president is elected in 2020.
For more discussion about this story join our Rachel Maddow and MSNBC group.
Mr. Easley is the managing editor. He is also a White House Press Pool and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association