A group of 15 Democratic State Reprentatives and Senators have filed an amicus brief on behalf of the nearly 42,000 Pennsylvanians who lost their health coverage when the state's adultBasic insurance program for low income workers ended February 28.
Senate Democratic leader Jay Costa of Allegheny County says Governor Corbett "overreached" when he "unilaterally" terminated adultBasic...
"He had the obligation and the responsibility to try to find resources to fund the program at least until June 30 that was agreed to by the General Assembly in July 2010. We think it's important we make our argument to the court in support of the lawsuits that have been filed, expressing our argument that the governor acted beyond his authority."
Governor Corbett said the state had no money to fund the insurance program. But Costa, Auditor General Jack Wagner and advocates for adultBasic claim that the administration and the legislature has redirected funds from the Tobacco Lawsuit settlement. The lawsuit filed on behalf of former adultBasic clients claims that 30% of the settlement monies were to be shared between adultBasic and Medicaid for workers with disabilities.
According to the state Insurance Department, 8,000 of the 42,000 former adultBasic recipients have transitioned to another insurance program. Costa says that means that the others, who now do not have preventive care, will wind up in hospital emergency rooms..."Those costs are borne by the hospitals. They then turn around and force them (the costs) on to the health care deliver system, ans it relates to about a 7-8% increase in costs of the premiums paid by the public or rate payers who for for health insurance."
Costa has introduced a bill that would use $25 million from this year's current surplus but that measure remains in committee.
He says the program needs to be funded until June 30th but also a bridge is needed till 2014 when the federal health care act kicks in completely.