Before Tom Corbett took the oath on January 18 to become Pennsylvania’s 46th Governor, he had already signaled an end to affordable health coverage for thousands of Pennsylvanians. At risk is adultBasic, which provides minimal health coverage to over 41,000 uninsured Pennsylvanians who earn too much to qualify for Medicaid but not enough to afford private health insurance. This past January, almost 500,000 Pennsylvanians were on the waiting list to gain adultBasic coverage.
Those who lose coverage would be given the option of enrolling in a health plan with premiums as much as 400% higher than those offered by adultBasic and much more limited benefits.
Making a Choice
Since 2005, adultBasic has been paid for in part by Blue Cross surpluses but this funding agreement expired in December. The Blues could fully fund adultBasic on their own, but instead they have decided to stop contributing to the program.
Instead of requiring the Blues to continue their contributions to adultBasic, Corbett is choosing to end coverage for thousands of vulnerable citizens, steering them to unaffordable, inadequate plans. By choosing to sacrifice the welfare of Pennsylvania’s working families over that of corporate interests, is Corbett revealing a sign of what’s to come?
A Tough Budget Fight Ahead
As Corbett takes office, he will be forced to deal with a host of difficult challenges that will require tough choices: a high unemployment rate, economic instability and reduced tax revenue. This year proves to be our most challenging yet; with a projected four to five billion dollar deficit and a new Governor and General Assembly that campaigned on cutting spending, we will have to fight even harder to preserve and improve funding for the care we provide.