A Valentine’s Day Message to Governor Corbett

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I don't know how Governor Tom Corbett celebrated Valentine's Day on Monday, but I do know that he got a lot more Valentines than I did.

More than 700 people sent the Governor Valentines asking him to have a heart and preserve the state's adultBasic health insurance program. Dozens more sent the Governor the same message on his Facebook page.

Have a Heart, Save adultBasicAdultBasic is facing a funding crisis that will end the program on February 28 and, with it, affordable health coverage for 42,000 Pennsylvanians. Governor Corbett has proposed allowing adultBasic to expire and offering those who lose their coverage the option of enrolling in Special Care, a plan that costs as much as 400% more than adultBasic and provides much more limited benefits.

The Pennsylvania Health Access Network (PHAN), which coordinated the Valentines campaign, shared some of the Valentines and Facebook messages on its blog today:

Karen in Oil City said: Please save adultBasic. My husband and I both have it and desperately need to keep it. He is a cancer survivor and I have many, many health problems without this coverage I will probably die within the coming year. We can not possibly afford the Special Care offered to replace our adultBasic coverage. Please, please, please, it truly is a matter of life and death to many of us.

Gary and Karen Carpinello from Waterford said: Dear Gov. Corbett, Our little boy is 8 yrs old we are in our 50's. Please save adultBasic so we can watch him graduate from High School. He needs his Mom and Dad. Have a Heart.

From Katie Margo: As a family physician I see the positive effects of adultBasic every day. Please have a heart and save the population you have promised to serve.

From Deborah Beckey Anderson: Have you spoken to the masses of people with no affordable health care? Have you ever walked in their shoes? Until we have more jobs that allow people to afford even basic health care in this state and country, it is heartless to cut programs like adultBasic!

Governor Corbett has said the money just isn't there to continue adultBasic, but as PHAN and others have pointed out, there are a number of funding options. At the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center, we have advocated for a continuation of an adultBasic funding agreement with the state's four nonprofit Blue Cross/Blue Shield providers that expired in December.

To their credit, the Blues have contributed to adultBasic as a part of their charitable mission for the past six years under that funding agreement. If there is any question now about whether the Blues can afford to continue funding adultBasic, keep this in mind: it would take less than 3% of their combined $6 billion in surpluses to keep adultBasic going for a full year.

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