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Your Call

What will it take to make expanded COVID benefits permanent?

Pei Li / Cronkite News

On this edition of Your Call, we discuss the expiration of pandemic era expansions to the social safety net, including increases to food stamps, the child tax credit, Medicaid, universal school lunches, and more.

Those programs have now ended even though 53 million working people in the US make just $24,000 a year, according to Brookings. Over 11 million children in the US live below the federal poverty line. Almost four million more children lived in in poverty in January 2022 without the monthly child tax credit, according to the Center on Poverty & Social Policy at Columbia University.

Average food stamp benefits have fallen to just $6 per day. Older adults have seen their monthly benefits fall from $281 to just $23, according to the Food Research & Action Center.

Over 17 million people could lose Medicaid coverage as states begin the disenrollment process, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.

What will it take to make these benefits permanent?


Ellen VollingerSNAP director for the Food Research & Action Center

Dr. Rita Hamad, social epidemiologist and family physician in the Philip R. Lee Institute for Health Policy Studies and the Department of Family & Community Medicine at UCSF, director of the Social Policies for Health Equity Research Program, associate director of the UCSF Center for Health Equity, member of the steering committee of the UCSF Population Health Data Initiative, co-chair of the Communications Committee of the Interdisciplinary Association for Population Health Science, and associate editor of the Health Affairs Journal

Alissa Quart, executive director of the Economic Hardship Reporting Project, and author of five books, including Squeezed: Why Our Families Can’t Afford America and Bootstrapped: Liberating Ourselves from the American Dream

Web Resources:

Kaiser Family Foundation: How Many People Might Lose Medicaid When States Unwind Continuous Enrollment?

The New York Times: The U.S. Built a European-Style Welfare State. It’s Largely Over.

Los Angeles Times: You’re not getting child tax credit checks anymore. Here’s why

Center on Budget and Policy Priorities: Unwinding Watch: Tracking Medicaid Coverage as Pandemic Protections End

The New York Times: Millions on Medicaid May Soon Lose Coverage as Pandemic Protections Expire

Rose Aguilar has been the host of Your Call since 2006. She became a regular media roundtable guest in 2001. In 2019, the San Francisco Press Club named Your Call the best public affairs program. In 2017, The Nation named it the most valuable local radio show.
Bee Soll is a producer with Your Call at KALW, and a producer, writer, and editor at KCBS Radio in San Francisco. She is a former reporter for Crosscurrents and contributor at KPFA Radio.