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2:37 AM / Friday February 23, 2024

6 Feb 2011

Corbett cuts health care for poor

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February 6, 2011 Category: Philly NAACP Posted by:

One of the true rewards of writing a newspaper column is having the chance now and then to say, “I told you so!” Well, newly installed Pennsylvania Gov.
Tom Corbett barely had time to change out of his inaugural tuxedo before his expected draconian budget cutbacks drew first blood. This month marks the end
of the state’s $36-a-month subsidized insurance program for 41,000 working poor Pennsylvanians—known as adultBasic. The program was enacted by former
Republican Gov. Tom Ridge and expanded by Democrat Ed Rendell. It was funded with tobacco-settlement dollars and contributions from the state’s four Blue
Cross plans.

Without the direct intervention of the new governor, in four short weeks these tens of thousands of poor Pennsylvanians will lose their health coverage and
some will most surely get sick and a few will die. So far, the Corbett administration has remained tight-fisted and mute. That’s what this newspaper warned
about back in November when we headlined the price that poor and non-white PA residents would suffer if we permitted the GOP candidates for governor and
U.S. Senate to win in the general elections.

Back then we were primarily concerned about the Republican onslaught in the federal courts against President Obama’s healthcare reform legislation. Then
candidate-Corbett was trying to earn his bones with the conservative wing of his party when he joined mostly southern states in their lawsuit. Now, he is
Gov. Corbett and he seems quite content to let those who need adultBasic to go without any healthcare at all.

By now most of you should be true believers.

When the SUN tries to warn you about the consequences of your vote it pays to listen, if only to inject your two cents in the democratic debate.

There is still time to save adultBasic if Governor Corbett wants to. He can ask the legislature for an emergency appropriation or he can beg the “Big
Blues” to dip into their million-dollar bank accounts for a temporary appropriation until a permanent fix is found. Don’t hold your breath.

All this week, national news shows carried still more stories about how badly the GOP controlled House of Representatives is trying to undo the new federal
health mandates even as they gradually take effect toward full implementation in 2014.

Corbett and his GOP cohorts can’t stand it now that it is illegal for insurance companies to deny coverage for children if they have pre-existing medical
conditions or can no longer rescind a policy after a person becomes sick or cap the amount that insurers will pay for medical care over a lifetime. After
2014, it will be illegal for insurers to set annual limits on the amount they will pay for medical care or deny coverage to adults with pre-existing
conditions.

What’s more, repeal would also eliminate federal tax credits that are helping small businesses provide coverage to employees as well as a reinsurance
program that is helping nearly 5,000 employers, large and small, provide health coverage to early retirees.

Republicans don’t seem to care that non-partisan economists and others reject their party’s argument that health reform will cost more than the status quo.
All they want is to cozy up even closer to the big pharmaceutical giants and big insurance companies.

So, even if you still won’t admit the SUN got it right back in November, be prepared to watch many of your fellow Pennsylvanians get sick and die by the
time spring has melted the last of the ice and snow.

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