Government programs such as food stamps and Medicaid are essential to the well being of many Americans’ everyday lives. Not only do programs provide security and support for who cannot take care of themselves, it gives U.S citizens and immigrants a second and sometimes first chance at life. For example, if a husband and father of three, whose wife is a stay at home mom, loses his job, what comes next for that family of five? Depending on how long the husband remains unemployed, this family’s quality of life has the potential to change dramatically. They risk losing their home and could potentially struggle to get food on the table. Food stamps and Medicaid will likely become crucial parts of this family’s life. As a nation, government aid is helping thousands of people to maintain a reasonable quality of life.
I live in a fairly wealthy and small suburb near Boise, Idaho. Seeing homeless or struggling men and women on the street is not a normal situation in my neighborhood, yet they are still there, and need our help. If I drive as little as eight miles down the road, there is a bridge downtown, under the freeway where many homeless men and women spend their days. On Sunday’s my friends and I will go downtown with a local church and feed the homeless. It is such a humbling experience and very intriguing to hear different people’s stories and situations. As an employee at a local food retailer, I see people with food stamps come in on a daily basis. Although there likely some who seem to abuse the food stamps program, a majority of people do not. It is necessary to make the food stamps program the best it possibly can be, for those who use it properly, here.
Current requirements for food stamps include a pre-screening test that asks questions such as, the number of people in the family applying, the living situation of the family, the names, ages and citizenship of everyone in the family, and any assets anyone in the family may have. To maximize the potential of the food stamp program, background checks and interviews should be required of all applicants. The background checks will not exempt people who have criminal records, but will take a look at the different situation and hopefully personalize the food stamp system for them. Once on food stamps (of any kind) people should have to prove they are actively looking for a job and trying to better their lives.
The Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) provides low-cost or free healthcare to over 7 million children under the age of nineteen. This insurance is available to U.S citizens and eligible immigrants. In the state of Idaho, CHIP is under the Medicaid system and often has a small monthly fee of 10-15 dollars. Applicants have several plans to choose from and I believe this program can benefit many people. One of the biggest ways to improve this program would to make it more well-known and available. A mistake that our society makes is having all of these programs for low income and homeless families, yet many people are not aware that they even exist.
Food stamps and Children’s Health Insurance Program are imperative to not only American lives, but immigrants’ as well. To stop the abuse of food stamps, background checks and continual check-ups on families using both CHIP and food stamps should be made by a government agent. Putting up more billboards and posters in shelters can make people aware of the existence of these programs. All of these changes will help these programs to be used correctly and work much more effectively.