Take action today! Tell the OMB: Don't shrink the poverty line to take benefits from millions

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Right now, the Trump Administration is trying to quietly change the way we define poverty. Each year the poverty line—the income amount that defines who is and isn’t in poverty—is adjusted for inflation. The poverty line is extremely important since it’s used to determine eligibility for assistance that those living in or near poverty need to survive. Think help for groceries, health care, and home heating to prevent threats to health and safety for low-income families or seniors. And remember that millions of moderate-income people qualify for health insurance premium subsidies if their incomes are between 100 percent – 400 percent of the poverty line.

The Trump Administration is trying to use a different way to calculate inflation that would be lower than the one we use now. And while that change wouldn’t be obvious right away, over the years hundreds of thousands of Americans would be defined out of poverty without any meaningful change to their financial situation. And millions of children, working people, retirees, and people with disabilities would have their benefits reduced or would get kicked off assistance entirely. Women with children and people of color would be hit disproportionately hard because they are far more likely to be poor.

While the Trump Administration is claiming that they are just trying to make the way of calculating inflation more accurate, there is research to show that the cost of necessities that low-income people buy rises at a faster rate than all goods and services. So by using a method that shrinks inflation, they will deny assistance to people who really need it.

If we used a lower inflation rate to define poverty:

  • More than 250,000 seniors and people with disabilities would lose their eligibility for, or receive less help from, Medicare’s Part D Low-Income Subsidy Program, meaning higher premiums and out-of-pocket costs for prescription drugs.
  • More than 300,000 children would lose health care through Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program.
  • More than 250,000 adults who gained Medicaid coverage from the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) expansion would lose it.
  • Millions of people who benefit from Affordable Care Act health insurance premium subsidies would see them reduced or eliminated.

And more. That’s why we need your help. The Office of Management and Budget within the Trump White House is soliciting comments on this potential change right now. We need people to speak up and tell them: We must not change the way we measure poverty without considering who would be hurt by these changes and looking carefully at the research about the most accurate ways to measure poverty and inflation. Shrinking the poverty line is just the latest plan to deny people the help they need.

Your comments matter. It’s critical for the Trump Administration to see there is wide-spread concern with how changing the poverty line could hurt millions of people. And once you’ve sent your comment, we will follow up with another action so you can write your members of Congress, telling them you’ve submitted a comment and you expect them to take action against these changes.