What We're Reading: SNAP Benefit Cuts; Va. to Pause Medicaid Work Requirements; Hair Dye, Straighteners Linked to Cancer

December 5, 2019

The Trump adminsitration plans to tighten work requirements for food stamp recipients, potentially leaving 688,000 without coverage; Virginia moves to suspend Medicaid work requirements; hair dye and hair straighteners were linked to an increased risk of breast cancer in a new study.

688,000 Food Stamp Beneficiaries Could Lose Coverage Under Trump Rule

A new rule finalized by the Trump administration is tightening work requirements for food stamp recipients, chiefly single able-bodied adults who cannot show that they work more than 20 hours a week, according to NPR. The rule will make it difficult for states to waive the requirement, which the administration stresses is intended to encourage those receiving Supplemental Nutritional Food Assistance benefits to get jobs. Anti-hunger advocates, however, argue that it may potentially harm low-income individuals who cannot find steady work.

Virginia to Suspend Medicaid Work Requirements

Ralph Northam, Democratic governor of Virginia, said in a statement that he has instructed the state’s Medicaid director to suspend negotiations with the Trump administration on how to implement work requirements for single recipients able to work, according to The Hill. Virginia additionally sent a letter to CMS requesting that the administration pause approval of the work requirements, with Northam noting that other states were facing rising costs and legal challenges associated with the requirements. Democrats gained control of state government in November.

Hair Dye and Straighteners Linked to Heightened Risk of Breast Cancer

Research on whether hair dyes frequently used by women might contribute to cancer has been mixed and inconclusive in the past, but a new study suggests that black women who regularly used permanent dyes to color their hair were 60% more likely to develop breast cancer compared to black women who did not report using dye, according to The New York Times. The study additionally found that for women of all races, a stark 30% heightened risk of breast cancer was shown in those who reported use of hair straighteners compared to those who did not.