Three plaintiffs, all from southwestern Pennsylvania, have filed suit against Governor Tom Corbett and the state legislature for letting the adultBasic health insurance program expire March 1. Attorneys for the Pittsburgh law firm Caroselli Beachler McTiernan and Conboy allege in the suit that state officials are violating the Pennsylvania Tobacco Settlement Act which requires a portion of the annual tobacco settlement funds go to adultBasic.
That money along negotiated contributions from the four Blue Cross/Blue Shields was used to fund the insurance program for nearly 42,000 low-income people. Nearly a half million others were on the waiting list.
Governor Corbett responded to the suit by saying the state can't afford the insurance program.
"That money is gone. We will not spend money we do not have. I will comment that Senator Stack of Philadelphia has commented the legislature could have used their reserves . Pretty good observation, but I don't have access to those reserves. I wish I did."
State Senator Mike Stack has authored legalisation to allocate the the General Assembly's $188.5 million budget surplus to fund adultBasic for at least a year. Stack says it's in everyone's interest to continue with adultBasic. Stack says he couldn't believe that the governor did not mention adultBasic in his budget address. "It’s as if 41,000 Pennsylvanians have simply been forgotten. The governor said his budget proposal ‘separates the must-haves from the nice-to-haves.’ I guess he thinks basic health coverage is a luxury. Well, it’s not a luxury. It’s a lifeline, not only for the 42,000 hard-working men and women who were on adultBasic, but also the nearly half-million individuals who were on the waiting list."
Stack's bill is still in the Senate Banking and Insurance Committee.