Jan 16, 2020

Coalition of states sues Trump administration over food stamp rule

Photo: Jens Kalaene/picture alliance via Getty Images

A group of 14 states along with Washington, D.C., and New York City filed a lawsuit on Thursday against the Agriculture Department over a plan to increase work requirements for food stamp recipients, per the Washington Post.

Why it matters: The stricter rule “eliminates State discretion and criteria” and will end “essential food assistance for benefits recipients who live in areas with insufficient jobs.” It intends to cut benefits for 688,000–850,000 unemployed people, the Post reports, and states' attorneys general who are backing the lawsuit argue the tightened SNAP requirements are unlawful.

Details: The new rule, finalized in December, is the first of three planned efforts to limit the federal food safety net and applies to able-bodied adults without children or dependents. The changes are expected to go through in April.

  • USDA expects the changes to save nearly $5.5 billion over five years.
  • Two other proposed rule changes seek to "cap deductions for utility allowance and to limit access to [food stamp benefits] for working poor families," the Post notes. Neither of the two outstanding rules have been finalized yet.

Go deeper: Seniors are increasingly going hungry

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USDA proposes letting schools sub grains, meats for veggies in student lunches

Westbrook Middle School lunch in 2015. Photo: Whitney Hayward/Portland Portland Press Herald via Getty Images

The USDA proposed new rules on Friday that would allow schools to serve more grains and meats in place of fruits and vegetables.

Why it matters: The agency's Food and Nutrition Service is responsible for feeding nearly 30 million students through its nutritional programs, per the Washington Post, and these proposed changes would enable schools to cut the number of fruits and vegetables that must be provided to students.

Go deeperArrowJan 17, 2020

FDA approves first treatment for peanut allergy

The Food and Drug Administration approved a treatment called Palforzia from Aimmune Therapeutics on Friday that would help treat those with peanut allergies.

Why it matters: Food allergies have been on the rise among children and adults, some with life-threatening conditions that cause an anaphylactic reaction from exposure. 

Go deeperArrowJan 31, 2020 - Health

Trump vs. Medicaid

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

It may not get the most attention, but Medicaid is the prime target of the Trump administration’s health care agenda.

Why it matters: Medicaid covers about 70 million people — more than Medicare. It’s the biggest item in many states’ budgets. It is a huge part of the health care system, and the Trump administration has been fully committed, since day one, to shrinking it.