Ending Hunger in America, 2014 Hunger Report Introduction - Page 14

INTRODUCTION The Affordable Care Act (ACA), implementation of which has just begun, has the potential to make affordable health care available to millions of additional people who previously were excluded because their jobs did not provide insurance, their low incomes made it impossible to afford the premiums, or insurance providers simply would not insure them because they had pre-existing conditions. No doubt there will be hiccoughs in its implementation, but the ACA is a monumental improvement to the American social safety net, no less of an achievement than Social Security. The uninsured “The majority of people who will now get coverage are largely people living just households that above the poverty line. Because medical problems and/or the bills participate in SNAP that come with them now drive many people into hunger and are working families poverty, the ACA should have the effect of reducing both of these. with children.” The United States has many other safety-net programs that reduce the hardships associated with poverty. The biggest meanstested programs are the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), Medicaid, and SNAP. SNAP is the main program designed to protect people from hunger. The majority of households that participate in SNAP are working families with children. Each year, about half of all SNAP recipients are children. The poorest families count on SNAP more than any other program to see them through hard times. In 2011, for example, 1.46 million U.S. households lived on income of less than $2 per person, per day, including 2.8 million children in these households.34 See Figure i.10. The average family receiving SNAP benefits lives in “deep poverty,” Figure i.10 SNAP Cuts Exteme Poverty Significantly (2011) Number of non-elderly households with children with incomes below $2 per person per day according to U.S. Census Bureau’s Survey of Income and Program Participation 1.6 million 1.4 $2 per person per day 1.2 1.0 0.8 0.6 0.4 $2 per person per day counting SNAP 0.2 0 June Feb. Oct. June Feb. Oct. ’96 ’97 ’97 ’98 ’99 ’99 1996-99 survey Apr. Dec. Aug. Apr. Dec. ’01 ’01 ’02 ’03 ’03 2001-03 survey Apr. Dec. Aug. Apr. Dec. Aug. ’04 ’04 ’05 ’06 ’06 ’07 2004-07 survey Nov. July Mar. Nov. ’08 ’07 ’10 ’11 2008-11 survey Source: National Poverty Center (2012). www.bread.org/institute? ? 2014 Hunger Report? 23 n