FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
State Rep. Tony DeLuca
DeLuca disappointed in adultBasic alternatives
HARRISBURG, Sept. 13 – Fewer than half of the former enrollees in Pennsylvania's adultBasic health care program have found alternative insurance and that's disappointing to House Insurance Committee Democratic Chairman Tony DeLuca.
"More than six months ago, when it was first announced that adultBasic would be ending, we knew this would happen. Governor Tom Corbett could have, and should have, asked the Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans to forego some of their billions in profits to continue adultBasic for our most vulnerable residents," said DeLuca, D-Allegheny.
According to statistics provided by the state Department of Public Welfare, 34 percent of the 37,588 individuals who lost their adultBasic insurance have enrolled in Special Care, while only 4 percent qualified for Medical Assistance.
"These are not equal programs, and the higher-priced Special Care insurance is causing uninsured people to fall through the cracks. It's simply not acceptable to sit back and do nothing while thousands of uninsured Pennsylvanians wait for the federal health exchanges to begin in 2014," DeLuca said.
"Governor Corbett and the majority party in the House and the Senate should be ashamed of themselves. They refused to continue to fund the adultBasic health program and substituted a Special Care program that costs more and provides fewer benefits."
AdultBasic was created by the legislature in 2001 with funding received through the National Tobacco Settlement Agreement. Since 2005-06, additional funding for the program was provided by the state's four Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans under an agreement with the state that expired in December.
Earlier this year, DeLuca introduced legislation (H.B. 500) that would provide a funding source so working Pennsylvanians would remain insured under adultBasic.
The Allegheny County legislator said his proposal would authorize the Pennsylvania Insurance commissioner to borrow funds from existing state accounts and use the catastrophic fund surcharge as the basis for repayment. The CAT fund is currently fully funded and the surcharge is not presently needed for paying the claims of that fund. In July, the surcharge was dedicated to the Medical Care Availability and Reduction of Error fund, which had a balance exceeding $120 million.
DeLuca's measure was never considered by the House Insurance Committee and the adultBasic program ended at the end of February.