With the termination of adultBasic less than one week away, news outlets across the state have been providing coverage on the consequences of canceling the program as well as last-minute attempts by State Senators and Representatives to save the critical program:
23 February 2011
Philly: The Intelligencer
10 February 2011
23 February 2011
Religious leaders and representatives from hundreds of faith groups across the state held a news conference asking Governor Corbett to save adultBasic, emphasizing the moral reasons behind preserving the program:
The Associated Press
22 February 2011
Corbett aide shrugs off potential health care suit
HARRISBURG, Pa. — Gov. Tom Corbett’s spokesman Tuesday shrugged off a potential lawsuit over the scheduled halt of a state program that subsidizes health care for about 41,000 low-income adults.
The spokesman, Kevin Harley, declined to comment about an advocacy group’s claim that Corbett is violating federal law and state policy by arranging to kick recipients out of the adultBasic program without first checking to see whether they might be eligible for Medicaid coverage. He implied that the administration is prepared to defend its actions if taken to court.
“The state gets sued about 70 times a week, so I’m sure they’ll sue,” Harley said after Corbett presided over a ceremony marking Black History Month. The governor left after the ceremony without speaking to reporters.
AdultBasic provides basic health care coverage and does not include dental services or prescription drugs. It is designed to help low-income adults who make too much money to qualify for the state-federal Medicaid program and are too young to qualify for Medicare.
Echoing his boss and Republicans who control the Legislature, Harley blamed Democratic former Gov. Ed Rendell for the problems that are expected to cause the 9-year-old program to run out of money this month. Those critics have said Rendell relied too heavily on money from the state’s nonprofit Blue Cross and Blue Shield health insurers, kept premiums too low and enrolled too many people.
“It’s unfortunate that Gov. Rendell never lived up to his commitment. The fact is, it’s not sustainable and there’s no money in the budget for it,” Harley said.
Later Tuesday, Democrats, who are the minority party in the state Senate, proposed a plan to continue the program through June by having the state and health insurers both pitch in $25 million, while subscribers would add $4 million in higher premiums.
Rendell administration officials have said they warned the Legislature about the funding shortfall last summer and said they tried unsuccessfully to get the Blues to contribute more money to keep the program going through the end of the fiscal year in June 30.
In a letter last week to top Corbett administration officials, Philadelphia-based Community Legal Services asked the state Insurance Department to postpone the scheduled Feb. 28 termination of the program until participants who are also eligible for Medicaid can be identified and transferred into that program.