Living in poverty is hard. It’s a daily struggle to survive.

Every year, the Harrisburg power holders attack the poor of Pennsylvania by trying to force hard-working folks off of Medicaid (welfare insurance) and SNAP (food stamps).

Unfortunately, this year is no different.

House Bills 2138 and HB 1659 would impose burdensome work requirements, time limits, and paperwork on people receiving Medicaid and SNAP (food stamps), two critical public programs that guarantee healthcare and food to millions of Pennsylvanians.

These bills are NOT about promoting work like politicians say they are. They are designed to kick people off of Medicaid and SNAP and to pin blame for poverty on poor people rather than on the economic policies that create poverty and inequality and deny people fundamental rights like healthcare and food.

Four out of five Pennsylvania families on Medicaid and about half of families on SNAP are working families. Most people who get healthcare and food through these programs are children, elders and people with disabilities who are unable to work. Most working-age, “able-bodied” adults who are not employed cannot work jobs because they work at home as unpaid caregivers or because decent jobs and affordable daycare are not available where they live.

If politicians were serious about promoting work, they would guarantee good jobs, healthcare, childcare and eldercare as public goods. They wouldn’t take away people’s food and medicine. Remember, we the people pay their salaries and enable them to live comfortably.

Poverty is the sin, not those individuals living in it. Everybody has a right to live. We the poor of Pennsylvania are putting our politicians on notice. Stop ‘poor shaming’ people, calling us stupid, lazy and irresponsible. Focus instead on ending systemic poverty and building a healthcare system and an economy that meet everyone’s needs.

It’s up to everyday people in Pennsylvania to hold politicians and all power-holders accountable. That’s why Put People First! Pennsylvania is organizing in our communities, building a Nonviolent Medicaid Army and participating in the Poor People’s Campaign. Join us at, and

Kaiser Family Foundation ( and Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (

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