Ryan’s budget proposal, which came out on March 12, continues his assault essential programs that play a vital role in the health and well-being of low-income families, the elderly, and women. Bryce Covert’s What Ryan’s Budget Means for Women discusses the disastrous impact of Ryan’s budget on women who disproportionally rely on these programs. Don’t look so shocked: proposals to cut spending by reducing programs that help vulnerable populations is the main reason that Ryan’s gets out of bed each morning.
The budget proposal would not only cut programs, it would also change the structure of entitlement programs like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, commonly known as Food Stamps) and Medicaid. Right now these social safety nets are entitlement programs (which means that all people who meet the eligibility requirements have a right to receive benefits), but Ryan’s proposal would turn them block into block grants (which means that states would receive a lump sum of federal money to give out as SNAP or Medicaid, and when it’s gone, it’s gone). This is a terrible idea for so many reasons, the main one being that during recessions, SNAP/Food Stamps and Medicaid would be less able to respond to increasing need, as the money would dry up as more people lost their jobs and became eligible. It would, without a doubt, mean eligible people being kicked off the program just when they need it most. Ryan’s budget would mean that during a recession, poor families would have to go without access to food or healthcare. For more information, check out these factsheets by Kaiser Permanente on block granting Medicaid and Bread for the World on block granting SNAP/Food Stamps.