By a vote of 104-96, the Pennsylvania House has voted to extend the Adult Basic Care program for low-income adults. Currently, 46,000 adults are enrolled but there are another 236,000 on the waiting list. House Bill 1 expands the program to cover 130,000 Pennsylvanians between 19 and 64 years old. To be eligible, the recipient's earnings must be no more than 200% of the federal poverty level.
All House Republicans but one voted against the measure. GOP Representative Dennis O'Brien voted with the Democrats. In addition to adding more people, the bill expands the coverage to include prescription drugs, preventative and wellness care, chronic disease management and behavioral health care. The additional coverage would qualify the state to receive a 54% federal subsidy. Other revenues for the program include a 2% tax on nonprofit health insurers and $362 million from the MCare program that helps doctors pay for malpractice insurance.
The measure faces an uncertain future in the Republican-controlled Senate.