I am breathing a tentative sigh of relief following the announcement that bills aimed at requiring work requirements of people on Medicaid expansion, increased reporting for folks on Medicaid and food stamps (SNAP), and a “workfare” program for SNAP recipients will not advance in Iowa’s legislature this year thanks to the leadership of Rep. Shannon Lundgren.
As a person of faith and a pastor who works to inspire and encourage folks to love and care for one another, I was disappointed and disheartened that our legislature was considering such measures in the first place. These bills would have further marginalized those who are already most vulnerable in our state.
Such action is immoral and antithetical to the way of Jesus. As a follower of Jesus, who fed all who were hungry and offered healing to the sick, I am called to provide food and healthcare to those who need it, period. I call upon Iowa’s elected leaders to offer such care to our siblings who are already living on the margins of a society that wrongly blames them for being poor.
We are responsible for creating this system that keeps people in poverty, and we are responsible for changing that system so that each and every one of us has our basic needs met that we might not only survive but thrive together. I implore Rep. Lundgren and her colleagues at the Capitol to focus on legislation that benefits the most vulnerable in Iowa rather than marginalizing them even further.
Rev. Jessica Petersen