This paper critically analyzes the strategies employed between the years 1996 through 2001 to 2011 to fight poverty in the United States. The main concern is the liability of healthcare expenses on family finances, which has further impoverished low income families. The healthcare costs were introduced to curb poverty but individuals had to acquire employment opportunities to claim a share of it. The welfare funds, which were always being disbursed to families, were stopped to encourage individuals to work for pay, and discourage idle lifestyles that are neither productive nor counter-productive. The two experiments are dependent on each other as one explains the failed strategy of the other and pursues clarification on the matter at hand.
Over a decade ago, when the welfare system changed from one that gave out cash to one that required work, the reformists saw this strategy as the best alternative of reducing poverty levels. Various individuals criticized this move since it was a chancy experiment with the welfare of needy American families. The “Congress reformed a welfare system that was deeply unpopular with the American public.” (http://www.brookings.edu/articles/2001/summer_ welfare_sawhill.aspx). Of course, this has augmented employment rates with over 60% ex-welfare individuals working, but with low incomes ($7 per hour) and fewer poor children getting assistance. Medical costs from families’ income escalate the poverty figures since families are forced to part with medical costs out of their pockets to sustain their health. The key issue here is that even though the attempt to improve the welfares of these poor families has gained momentum, its fruit are still bitter due to skyscraping medical costs.
Vin Weber (n.d) surveys that no political party in Washington supports key transformation in welfare law. Vulnerability is a consequence of poverty in former welfare-aid-reliant families. However, the elimination of this initiative has tested hard work in poor families, but to some extent isolated them. Food stamps, Earned Income Tax Credit and the school lunch program mostly benefit young folks in poor families. The adults, who are out of the job market and at high risk of chronic diseases, are isolated from this bracket. Moreover, medical costs are also cut from their incomes. According to Sara et al (2011), health care costs cover the most considerable living expenditure faced by deprived families. Getting people to work and be independent has had its implications on social relationships. People get to be extraordinarily social, and childbearing comes early in life. With the little salaries the culprits receive, it becomes difficult to meet medical costs and other basic needs; thus, increasing poverty levels. Even if Gordon Berlin (n.d) notes that work pay can yield positive effects on child well-being, it does more harm than good to poor families. Childbearing outside marriage disguises poverty. So, this cycle should be broken by reintroducing welfare benefits in low-income communities.