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Inslee letter to Trump Administration regarding poverty changes

June 21, 2019

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In case you missed it: Gov. Jay Inslee sent a letter today that details concerns about potential changes to how the federal government measures poverty. The Trump Administration recently put out a notice that asked for comment on a proposal that would lower the poverty threshold and could leave tens of thousands of Washingtonians and millions of Americans without assistance for health care, food, housing and child care needs.

The letter details the potential impact on Washington state. It is also signed by Attorney General Bob Ferguson, Insurance Commissioner MIke Kreidler and Superintendent of Public Instruction Chris Reykdal.  

"Assuming the change would impact benefit eligibility starting in 2020, we project the following reductions in Washingtonians’ access to federal, state and local assistance over ten years:

  • More than 60,000 individuals would lose eligibility for health coverage through Medicaid and CHIP, which means fewer children, adults and seniors would be receiving medically necessary services — including but not limited to: primary care, hospital services, medications, vaccinations, long-term services and supports, treatment for mental illness and substance use disorder, vision and dental services, assistance with Medicare premiums, as well as copays and deductibles for low-income seniors;
  • Nearly 5,000 seniors and more than 3,600 people with disabilities would face higher outof-pocket costs for healthcare in the Medicaid Medically Needy program;
  • More than 100,000 individuals with health coverage under the Affordable Care Act would face higher health insurance premiums on the Washington Health Benefit Exchange due to lost or reduced ACA premium tax credits; 
  • Nearly 3,500 people would lose eligibility for basic food through SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program);
  • More than 4,200 parents would lose child care assistance through our state’s Working Connections Child Care program aimed at helping families achieve self-sufficiency;
  • Over 530 children would lose education, health and family support services through our state’s preschool program, the Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program (ECEAP);
  • More than 5,200 pregnant women, new moms and children under age 5 would lose eligibility for breastfeeding support, nutrition education and monthly checks for nutrition and health screenings and referrals through the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Special Supplemental Nutrition Program;
  • Nearly 3,700 women would lose healthcare access through the Title X Family Planning Program, including breast and pelvic exams, cancer screenings, HIV testing, pregnancy testing and counseling, and affordable birth control;
  • Over 470 individuals would lose preventative healthcare for breast, cervical and colon cancer screenings through the Breast, Cervical and Colon Health Program;
  • Almost 3,700 households would lose assistance with heating costs, heating system repair and replacement, energy conservation education, temporary shelter assistance, energy crisis intervention, and other emergency services (such as blankets, space heaters and repairs) through the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP);
  • Over 20,300 residents would lose services through the Community Services Block Grant (CSBG) Program, such as housing, energy assistance, nutrition, employment, training, and emergency food and shelter;
  • On a daily basis nearly 10,000 students would lose reduced price lunches, while nearly 20,000 students would lose free lunches and be forced to pay more or go hungry, through the National School Lunch Program;
  • On a daily basis nearly 4,000 students would lose reduced price breakfasts, while nearly 8,000 students would lose free breakfasts and be forced to pay more or go hungry, through the National School Breakfast Program; and
  • More than 600 students would lose eligibility for college financial aid through our state’s College Bound Scholarship Program."

Read the full letter.

Media Contact 

Tara Lee
Governor Inslee’s Communications Office
360.902.4136