Over the past decade, there have been significant expansions in policies that support low-income working families, such as refundable tax credits, health insurance, child support enforcement, child care subsidies, and nutritional supports. These programs help hard working families who struggle to meet basic needs due to low wages, irregular hours and lack of benefits. However, this safety net is incomplete. CLASP advocates for improvements in individual programs and in the service delivery system to help ensure low-income families have the support they need to stay employed and provide for their families.
Jun 25, 2015 | PERMALINK »
Supreme Court Upholds ACA; Preserves Affordable Health Insurance, Prevents “Benefits Cliff” for Workers
Today’s Supreme Court decision upholding Affordable Care Act (ACA) subsidies in all states ensures millions of people will retain access to affordable health insurance coverage. The Supreme Court’s ruling makes it clear that subsidies are available regardless of whether states have chosen to operate their own marketplace or use the federal marketplace, allowing the more than six million people who receive subsidies through the federal marketplace to remain insured.
Subsidies through the federal and state marketplaces allow low- and moderate-income families to receive affordable health insurance, helping them remain healthy and in the workforce, preventing medical crises from leading to insurmountable debts, and providing financial peace of mind.
This morning, CLASP Executive Director Olivia Golden testified before a combined hearing of the House Ways and Means and Agriculture Committees on work incentives in safety-net programs. Several witnesses raised concerns about potential “cliff effects” that occur when an increase in income results in a loss of benefits. As Dr. Golden testified, the ACA expansion of health insurance through Medicaid and ACA eliminates a significant cliff that families may have previously experienced.
In states that have elected to expand Medicaid, subsidies prevent a benefits cliff when a family’s income rises above the Medicaid eligibility threshold. Parents no longer have to take the enormous risk of going without health insurance if they add hours to a low-wage job and exceed a pre-ACA Medicaid eligibility ceiling that in many states was far below the poverty level. Instead, with Medicaid coverage at the lowest income levels and then coverage through the health insurance exchange with a sliding scale of subsidy, a working parent can have peace of mind about health care, regardless of income level. In states that have not elected to expand Medicaid, parents entering employment may still experience a cliff when their earnings exceed the low pre-ACA eligibility levels for Medicaid. They will then regain health insurance coverage through subsidies if their income climbs above 100 percent of poverty.
The Supreme Court has now upheld two critical components of the Affordable Care Act. Five years after the ACA was passed and nearly two years into full implementation, it is time to shift the dialogue from whether the ACA should be law to making it work as well as possible. The remaining states should adopt the Medicaid expansion and remove this benefit cliff for parents moving into low-wage work.
In addition, all states should work to make ACA implementation seamless for low-income workers. One way to do this is to simplify and integrate Medicaid eligibility and enrollment procedures with other work support programs. For example, sharing a family’s income information between SNAP and Medicaid systems reduces the burden on both the applicant and state agencies. As states continue to move forward with ACA implementation, they should take advantage of opportunities, such as the enhanced federal funding for information system upgrades, to integrate work supports—ensuring workers and families can access the full package of benefits for which they qualify and making it possible for them to succeed while working in low-wage jobs.
Work Support Strategies: Streamlining Access, Strengthening FamiliesThe Work Support Strategies initiative provides a select group of states the opportunity to design, test, and implement more effective, streamlined, and integrated approaches to delivering key supports for low-income working families. READ MORE »
- Olivia Golden | Jun 25, 2015 Testimony by Olivia Golden on Work Incentives and the Safety Net
- Elizabeth Lower-Basch | Jun 16, 2015 TANF 101: Policy Briefs on Temporary Assistance for Needy Families
- AARP Public Policy Institute, CLASP, and NELP | Apr 09, 2015 Access to Unemployment Insurance Benefits for Family Caregivers: An Analysis of State Rules and Practices
- Randi Hall and Helly Lee | Mar 20, 2015 FNS Announces SNAP E&T Pilots in Ten States
- Helly Lee | Feb 09, 2015 WIOA: What Human Service Agencies and Advocates Need to Know
- Jun 25, 2015 Testimony by Olivia Golden on Work Incentives and the Safety Net (Joint Hearing of the House Committee on Ways and Means, Human Resources Subcommittee and the House Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition Subcommittee)
- CLASP | Jun 18, 2015 CLASP Submits Comments on Mechanized Claims Processing and Information Retrieval Systems also known as 90/10
- David Socolow, Elizabeth Lower-Basch, Michelle Derr, and Louisa Erickson | Jun 18, 2015 Webinar: WIOA-Human Services Collaborations: Opportunities and Challenge
- Jun 09, 2015 CLASP’s Comments on the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008
- Elizabeth Lower-Basch | May 29, 2015 TANF 101: Work Participation Rate