General

In an opinion piece for Multichannel News, our Honorary Chairman Rick Boucher makes the case for shifting Lifeline into the world of EBT:

To spur competition by encouraging a larger number of carriers to participate in the program and to give consumers the most flexible way to choose from among competing carriers, we support moving the Lifeline subsidy to an electronic benefit transfer (EBT) card.

Putting the Lifeline benefit on an EBT card and asking the states to confirm eligibility would empower consumers in the marketplace and help prevent fraud. Yet even as many states have adopted the convenience and accountability of moving government-provided benefits to an EBT card, some still resist this change for Lifeline.

They contend that EBT cards would burden certain beneficiaries, such as the elderly, disabled and rural poor, based on an incorrect assumption that the cards would have to be swiped at a retail location on a regular basis.

Let’s review how eligibility determinations and EBT cards would work in practice under a new Lifeline program.

Check out Boucher’s full op-ed over at Multichannel News.