President’s Budget is Bad for Louisiana
This week, the president unveiled his proposed budget and the news is not good for low-income Americans or Louisiana. This budget reflects this administrations lack of empathy for the millions of Americans who are struggling in poverty, which includes many families in Louisiana. We have provided a brief summary of some of the most devastating impacts of this budget below.
Guts funding for Medicaid and repeals the Affordable Care Act
The president’s budget would radically restructure the financing system for the Medicaid program, cutting the program by $610 billion over 10 years, in addition to the $839 billion cut under the AHCA. Combined, this is a $1.4 trillion cut over 10 years.
These cuts would undermine the program’s enormous role in reducing health inequities for communities of color; 19 percent of nonelderly Medicaid beneficiaries are African Americans and 31 percent are Hispanic.
Under the Medicaid expansion in Louisiana, more than 428,000 have enrolled in the program.
The budget also proposes to cut CHIP spending by about 20 percent over the net year.
Levels funding for the Title X Family Planning Program
The budget would freeze Title X funding and shortchanges Title X by $451 million, or 61 percent, of the approximately $737 million required to provide health services to low-income women of reproductive age through the program nationwide. Title X Family Planning Program serves 4 million people each year, more than half of whom are women of color.
The proposed budget will not adequately support the approximately 2.5 million uninsured low-income women in need of affordable contraception and other preventive care, including Pap smears, sexually transmitted infection (STI) screening and testing, human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines, and breast and cervical cancer screenings through Title X sites.
Contraceptive services at Title X health centers prevented 904,000 unintended pregnancies in 2014, translating into 439,000 unplanned births and 326,000 abortions averted. Without publicly funded contraceptive clinics, the number of unintended pregnancies, unplanned births, and abortions each year in the United States would be 68 percent higher. In Louisiana, 60% of all pregnancies are unplanned and public spending on unplanned pregnancies totals hundreds of millions each year.
For every dollar spent on family planning, providers saved an average of $7.09 in Medicaid-related costs, adding up to net government savings of about $13.6 billion in 2010.
These cuts, combined with the American Health Care Act (AHCA), which was recently passed by the House of Representatives, would be a disaster for Americans’ health care and result in an estimated 24 million more people being uninsured within 10 years.
Unprecedented cuts to programs that feed and educate children.
SNAP benefits are too small for people to subsist on them without working. The average food stamp benefit was $465 a month for a family of four in 2015. The maximum monthly benefit for a family that size is $649 — which equates to about $5.40 worth of food per day for each family member.
The budget proposes $200 billion in cuts directly from the federal food stamp program, which helps feed 44 million people each year, including more than 926,000 Louisianans. 147,228 Louisiana households would lose SNAP benefits due to these budget cuts by 2027.
The budget also proposes to cut $9.2 billion from the U.S. Department of Education—an overall reduction of 13.6 percent.
Eliminates the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)
This budget would leave 6.7 million low-income families without the financial assistance they need to pay their energy bills. Households receiving LIHEAP benefits (2014) in Louisiana 68,979, or 1.5% of the population.
Cuts protections for clean air and water
The budget cuts the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s budget by approximately $2.6 billion, or a 31.4 percent cut, undermining vital protections for clean air and water.
The Winners - the wealthiest Americans
The budget proposes huge cuts to the vital programs that middle-class and lower-income Americans depend upon for economic security in order to pay for immoral tax cuts for the top earners in America.