FGA: Restore Work Requirements In Food Stamps

This week, the Foundation for Government Accountability published a new report on the growing food stamp crisis:

The food stamp program is one of the largest and fastest-growing welfare entitlements in the federal budget. Total enrollment reached a whopping 48 million in 2013, one of many record highs plaguing the program. Skyrocketing enrollment has led federal spending on food stamps to more than quadruple since 2000, reaching another record-high of nearly $80 billion in 2013.

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One key cause of this out-of-control spending is the recent explosion of enrollment among able-bodied childless adults. Although federal law requires these adults to work in order to receive food stamps, the Obama administration has awarded an unprecedented number of waivers to states, allowing able-bodied childless adults to receive taxpayer-funded food stamp benefits without working at all.

The problem may seem purely fiscal: food stamp spending is consuming a growing portion of the federal budget, putting at risk other critical spending priorities. But the consequences of this enrollment explosion go beyond just billions of dollars. The elimination of work requirements has resulted in more people remaining trapped in government dependency for far longer than they otherwise would, has kept more people in poverty, has stymied economic growth, and has contributed to a massive expansion of the welfare state.

Reinstating work requirements for able-bodied childless adults receiving food stamps has proven profoundly successful in decreasing food stamp enrollment, returning more people to work, and even increasing volunteerism.

The way forward for states is simple and clear. Governors should just decline to renew the federal waivers that have eliminated work requirements for able-bodied childless adults on food stamps. Doing so would reduce welfare enrollment, save federal taxpayer dollars, lift more people out of poverty, increase self-sufficiency, and spur economic growth.

The full paper — authored by Jonathan Ingram and Nic Horton — can be viewed here.

FGA: What Exchange Enrollees Want, After King v. Burwell

A new, one-of-a-kind poll released yesterday by the the Foundation for Government Accountability takes a look at what ObamaCare exchange enrollees want in the wake of the King v. Burwell ruling. The poll surveyed exchange enrollees in only the 34 states that have not set up ObamaCare exchanges. Many of these enrollees would be personally impacted by a pro-King ruling.

Here’s a snapshot:

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Forbes: How The New Congress Can Thoughtfully Repeal Obamacare’s Expansion

By Jonathan Ingram, Nic Horton and Josh Archambault — Mr. Ingram is Research Director, Mr. Archambault is a Senior Fellow, and Mr. Horton is Policy Impact Specialist, at the Foundation for Government Accountability.

Tomorrow, a new Congress convenes, with the largest Republican majorities in nearly a century. These Republicans, elected on the promise of rolling back Obamacare, are ready to start chipping away at the law. One of their first targets? Obamacare’s immoral funding scheme that prioritizes able-bodied adults over the truly needy.

Obamacare Values The Able-Bodied Over The Truly Needy

The Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP) rates determine how the cost of Medicaid will be divvied up between the federal government and the states. FMAP rates vary by state, depending on states’ per capita personal income. Under the traditional Medicaid rules, federal taxpayers reimburse states an average of 57 percent of the cost of providing Medicaid to poor children, pregnant women, seniors and individuals with disabilities. The match rates for these populations don’t change under Obamacare.

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PA as an illustration of the immoral funding formula under Obamacare’s expansion.

However, Obamacare introduced a new “enhanced” funding formula for its expansion population. If states expand Medicaid to working-age, able-bodied adults, federal taxpayers will pay for 90 percent of the cost of covering those adults. (The matching rate starts at 100 percent for most states and gradually declines to 90 percent by 2020.)

But the vast majority of the able-bodied adults covered under Obamacare expansion have never been considered among the most vulnerable, have no disabilities keeping them from work, have no dependent children and don’t typically qualify for other types of welfare, including cash assistance and long-term food stamps. Why should federal taxpayers pay states nearly twice as much to cover able-bodied adults as they pay to cover the truly needy? Continue reading

Forbes: How States Can Unwind Obamacare Expansion And Restore The Working Class

By Jonathan Ingram, Nic Horton and Josh Archambault — Mr. Ingram is Research Director, Mr. Archambault is a Senior Fellow, and Mr. Horton is Policy Impact Specialist, at the Foundation for Government Accountability.

In November, voters across the country elected new Republican governors and legislators, many of whom campaigned heavily against Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion. Although some of these new leaders (including Governor-elect Asa Hutchinson in Arkansas) will be taking control of states that have opted into Obamacare expansion, there is new hope that these governors and state legislators will work to reduce government dependency and restore the working class.

One idea rapidly gaining currency among legislators and new governors’ transition teams is the possibility of renewing Medicaid expansion on a temporary basis for those who have already signed up, but immediately freezing enrollment going forward. This approach would stop the bleeding, but allow for a more gradual wind down of the program and allow enrollees to keep their plans until they increased their incomes, transitioning out of eligibility. Continue reading