The state supported low-income health insurance known as “adult Basic” expires at midnight tonight and rallies across the state today called on the governor to restore spending. When the adultBasic program was launched in 2001 the state’s four Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies and money from the State’s tobacco settlement funded it. When the tobacco money ran out, the state covered the gap and now Governor Tom Corbett has decided to let the program expire.
In a rally in Pittsburgh's Market Square today, Pennsylvania Consumer Health Coalition Executive Director Beth Heeb says adultBasic was a lifeline for nearly 42-thousand Pennsylvanians. “People who work two and three jobs to support their families, people whose employers cannot afford to offer health care, people who are sick suffering from chronic illnesses and are priced out of the private insurance market due to their pre-existing medical conditions,” says Heeb.
Activists are asking for the governor to fund adultBasic through the end of the fiscal year and to find a way to preserve the program through 2014 when federal health care laws begin. They contend there are several options before the governor that he can choose if he wants to save the program.
Alison Zapata was on adultBasic. She was on the waiting list for more than three years before getting into the program less than a year ago. Zapata says two months after she learned she was pregnant, she learned the program was being eliminated. “[It] kind of sent me into a panic mode,” says Zapata. She says she cannot afford to go on her fiancées insurance and she thinks the other government-supported options, which cost more and cover less are, “scary.”