DC Healthcare Alliance

Today’s vote means that District residents who rely on the Healthcare Alliance for medical insurance will no longer face the burdensome requirement of recertifying twice a year, but instead will recertify once a year like those enrolled in every other District public health insurance program. Fewer burdensome administrative requirements can allow District residents to avoid lapses in and out of the program, improving their access to consistent health care and hopefully long-term health outcomes. That being said, we hope that with having to administer the recertification process half as often that the Department of Human Services is able to improve the language accessibility issues that have posed hurdles in the past

WIC

As of May 5, DC Health has fully implemented an eWIC system, allowing WIC participants to use an electronic card to pay for groceries instead of dealing with the stigma and the hassle of a paper voucher. That’s important because according to the most recent publicly available data, less than half of eligible residents are enrolled in WIC (44.6% in 2018), which is a lower share than in neighboring Maryland and Virginia and than the national average, meaning that families who could benefit from WIC may not be participating in the program. Reducing barriers by implementing eWIC is an important step to helping families get the nutrition support they need. Now it’s important that everyone working with young District families help get the word out, from agency officials to pediatricians to child care providers.

SNAP

If passed and funded, the Give SNAP a Raise Amendment Act of 2022 would increase the minimum monthly Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) payment guaranteed to all participants from $30 to 15% of the maximum allotment for the family. DC would be first in the country to establish a local SNAP supplement. This legislation will be a significant step forward in ensuring thousands of DC residents have access to healthy food, providing greater flexibility to purchase nutritious food. During budget season we joined our partners in pushing the Council to have a hearing on this legislation, which they did. Now we’re asking for it to be passed and funded.

 

Program Name (and Agency) FY23 Budget Ask Amount Allocated Program Details (Why the funding is important)
Alliance – DHCF Change recertification to annual (cost estimates to do so varies widely) $4.2M This funding will help the District’s immigrant families maintain more consistent access to health care.
WIC – DC Health Expeditiously expand the eWIC pilot to cover all WIC participants NA eWIC will allow people to access WIC benefits with a card, avoiding the stigma and hassle of paper vouchers.
SNAP – DHS Hold a hearing for the legislation to Give SNAP a Raise NA (for the hearing); for the legislation itself the budget office is working to create a fiscal impact statement During the pandemic, federal SNAP benefits went up from roughly $1.40 per person per meal to $2.35. This legislation would use local dollars to ease the blow to families when the federal increase ends.