A New York Times op-ed is concerned with the high numbers of young adults who cannot find work and live in states that refuse to participate in the ACA insurance program. Because of cut-backs in funding for staffing many cannot get into job training programs and therefore cannot receive food assistance. Low-income childless workers under age 25 are ineligible for earned income tax credits and those over age 25 face income cutoffs and other restrictions
For impoverished Americans, the biggest obstacle to health insurance remains the refusal of 26 mostly Republican-led states to expand their Medicaid programs as called for under the health reform law. As a result, up to an estimated eight million people will get no help at all because they earn too little to buy subsidized coverage on the new insurance exchanges and too much to qualify for Medicaid in states that won’t expand their programs.
Traditionally, Medicaid, and other government anti-poverty programs, have largely ignored childless adults under the antiquated rationale that only children, their parents, older Americans and the disabled are deserving of help. The sheer number of childless adults in poverty defies that notion, as does compassion and economic necessity — an economy cannot thrive with a significant share of the working-age population stuck in poverty.
Looming cutbacks to state and federal unemployment benefits will also harm many childless low-income adults because many who lose their jobs end up unemployed for a long time. At the same time, state general assistance programs, which provide a safety net for those who do not qualify for other public aid have been severely reduced by budget cuts enacted during the recession.
In today’s high-unemployment, low-wage and deeply unequal economy, childless adults are not immune to severe hardship and should not be disqualified from help.
Though not mentioned – lack of opportunity can result in higher crime rates as well.
What is your church doing to assist adults without children. In our rush to find “families” do we overlook people?