Friday, July 03, 2009

Pennsylvania: Insuring the Uninsured

Published on July 1, 2009 in THE PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER.

Bill to expand Pa. health insurance sparks debate

By Michael Vitez and Heather J. Chin
Inquirer Staff Writers

Democratic leaders in Pennsylvania hope to double the number of residents who receive state-sponsored health insurance, known as adultBasic, but Republicans fear the costs may be too high.

The Pennsylvania House on Monday voted, 104-98, in favor of HB 1, to increase the number of individuals receiving adultBasic from 45,000 to 90,000.

Republican leaders in the Senate say they might oppose the effort. Carolyn Scanlan, president and CEO of the Hospital & Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania, also expressed reservations.

Pennsylvania, like the nation, has seen the numbers of uninsured soar in the last year as the economy has declined, making a bad situation much worse.

AdultBasic is designed for people who earn too much to qualify for poverty programs such as Medicaid but can't afford insurance themselves.

An individual is eligible for adultBasic if he or she earns $21,600 or less; a family of four can earn $44,000 or less.

The program can't begin to meet the rising need. The waiting list, officials say, is growing by 20,000 a month and projects 270,000 as of today.

A year ago, it was at 96,000.

Read the full story here...

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