The Root Cause Coalition Opposes SNAP ABAWD Rule

WASHINGTON, DC – Yesterday, the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) issued its final rulemaking on Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP): Requirements for Able-Bodied Adults Without Dependents (FNS-2018-0004). Once again The Root Cause Coalition opposes this rule that will drastically increase the food insecurity of working individuals and families across the country, negatively affecting their long term health and economic stability. The Coalition issued a letter of public comment opposing this rule when it was first proposed in 2018 and has also opposed expanding work requirements when their inclusion in last year’s Farm Bill was being considered.

The new rule will cut off access to essential food assistance for nearly 700,000 people utilizing SNAP when it takes effect in April 2020. Revising restrictions on who would be eligible for SNAP puts a burden on those working to climb the economic ladder and achieve financial stability. The Coalition urges regulators and lawmakers to reconsider the positive effects of SNAP on the overall health of families – particularly children – as well as the health care savings that SNAP enrollment has been shown to achieve. The ill effects of food insecurity are well documented. The inability to maintain a normal food-intake pattern is associated with increased rates of diabetes, high blood pressure, asthma and heart disease. In addition to these health effects, food-insecure households have been shown to have more emergency room visits and hospital stays.

“Income supports such as SNAP allow low-income individuals to improve their financial stability as they work toward self-sufficiency,” said Barbara Petee, Executive Director of the Root Cause Coalition. “Removing this essential safety-net for our most vulnerable Americans not only undermines the current food insecurity crisis, but also undermines economic stability prospects for households across the country and is not cost effective, as food insecurity is a $77 billion cost to the healthcare industry.”

The Root Cause Coalition counts among its members local and national food banks that work directly with SNAP recipients, as well as numerous major health care providers and payers. The Coalition’s position on the proposed rule represents a confluence of expert opinion that cuts across sectors, states and services.

Read the full text of the rule.

About the Root Cause Coalition

Established in 2015, the Root Cause Coalition is a non-profit, member-driven organization comprised of more than 75 leading health systems, hospital associations, foundations, businesses, national and community nonprofits, health insurers, academic institutions and policy centers. The Coalition works to achieve health equity through cross-sector collaboration in advocacy, education and research. For more information, visit www.rootcausecoalition.org and connect with us on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

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