Adult Basic’s End

Unless Governor Corbett acts quickly, by March 1st of this year, 42,000 Pennsylvania residents will loose their health insurance and join the already one million-plus in the state without coverage. Adult Basic, a health insurance program designed for adults who don’t qualify for Medicaid, but earn too little for private-market insurance, is scheduled to be terminated in the state on February 28th.

The program, initially launched about a decade ago to deal with the still unresolved nationwide health insurance crisis, has largely been funded by Blue Cross/Blue Shield in an agreement related to their tax-exempt status. Now that their obligation to contribute to the program is coming to an end, the Blue’s, despite reaping record profits and continuing to add to its enormous reserves, are refusing to offer further support for the program. Governor Corbett’s staff have told me they “appealed to the federal government” for assistance, but that’s just not good enough.

I’m not sure whether its more shameful that our Governor, who was among the first Attorney Generals in line to challenge President Obama’s health reform package, is now turning to the federal government in a last ditch attempt to preserve insurance for Pennsylvanians, or that the Blue’s, a “charitable organization” that made their billions selling health care, are going to stand by and let thousands of hardworking adults loose their coverage.

Either way its clear that money, as it always has been, is being put before people when it comes to health care. Perhaps the greatest irony of all, is that when these 42,000 begin utilizing hospitals and other medical services without insurance, the costs of their uncompensated care will ultimately be passed on in the form of higher premiums to the rest of us- including those that voted to put the “fiscally responsible” Corbett in office, who is now gambling with the lives of thousands.


Letter to the Editor submitted to Philadelphia Inquirer. For more info click here.