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Gov. Reynolds Appoints New DHS Director, Iowa SNAP Benefits Could Change

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A Texas health and human services official has been named the new director of the Iowa Department of Human Services today.  Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds appointed Kelly Kennedy Garcia to head the department that oversees the state's Medicaid program, mental health centers, and child welfare services.

Garcia is now the deputy executive commissioner at the Texas Health and Human Services Commission.  Garcia previously managed the Texas Medicaid program and once served as a senior adviser to former Texas Gov. Rick Perry.

She will begin Nov. 1. The appointment is subject to confirmation by the Iowa Senate.

Former DHS Director Jerry Foxhoven was ousted from the job in June for reasons Reynolds has not fully disclosed. Foxhoven claims it was because he questioned a payment arrangement for a staff member he thought might be illegal. He's filed a $2 million wrongful termination claim.

A new analysis projects nearly 60-thousand Iowans could lose their Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits under a new rule proposed by the Trump administration. 

The change would limit broad-based categorical eligibility, used by many states, including Iowa. This allows those who receive Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program benefits to also enroll in SNAP.

According to an analysis by the policy research organization Mathematica, it could affect 16 percent of the state’s SNAP participants.

Sarah Lauffer is a Senior Research Programmer at Mathematica. She says it would mostly impact families with children.

Fifty-nine thousand individuals in Iowa will be affected and 40,000 of those are in households with children. So we’re talking parents and children within the household, but that’s a good proportion of those losing benefits.

The USDA is taking public comment on the proposed change through September 23. 

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