A Woman-Centered Economic Agenda: Restore and Preserve the Social Safety Net
Ensuring that a growing economy is equitable and benefits all workers is an important policy priority for all elected officials. Given that women’s earnings and economic security are central to the health and well-being of U.S. households and the overall economy, each election cycle presents an opportunity to highlight the policies that would help women have access to the jobs and benefits workers need to ensure economic security for themselves and their families.
This post is the sixth in a series outlining eight key policy priorities that are critical for increasing women’s economic opportunities and securing their futures. This was originally published on the IWPR website.
Public programs—such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), among others—lessen the financial hardships that many women and families face. Access to affordable health insurance can also help women thrive in the workforce and achieve economic stability. The passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in 2010 and the expansion of Medicaid eligibility—which has been adopted by 28 states and the District of Columbia—has increased access to affordable health services for many women and families.
Such programs, however, still often fail to reach many women and families who would benefit from their assistance.
Actions to ensure that those who need these supports have access to them include:
■ Simplify applications and eligibility determinations and increase benefit levels for public programs;
■ Fund informational campaigns so those who need supports know about the programs and how to enroll in them;
■ Support the expansion of Medicaid coverage in states that have yet to do so;
■ Ensure preexisting conditions are covered by health insurance policies.