Corbett blames Rendell for insurance program end

    The Corbett Administration is standing firm on its decision not to step in and extend Pennsylvania’s adultBasic program, which provides bare-bones health insurance for more than 40,000 people.

    Corbett pins the blame on his predecessor, Democrat Ed Rendell. The Republican’s spokesman, Kevin Harley, said Rendell shouldn’t have extended the program’s rolls last year, knowing its funding agreement was expiring.

    “It’s unfortunate that Gov. Rendell never lived up to his commitment. But the fact is, it’s unsustainable, and there’s no money in the budget for it,” he said.

    The initial adultBasic agreement expired at the end of December, but Pennsylvania’s Blue Cross/Blue Shield insurers agreed to provide an additional $51 million to fund the program through June. That money, however, will instead run out Feb. 28.

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    AdultBasic supporters aren’t giving up hope. At a rally in Harrisburg Tuesday, the Rev. Amy Reumann of the Lutheran Advocacy Ministry urged Corbett to step in and save the program.

    “I think there are still solutions and possibilities out there, if there’s a will. And we look to him to give that moral leadership,” she said. “We don’t accept it at this point. We still think there is room. And if he could simply function in the role to bring all the players to the table, where there could be some negotiation around, how can we continue it? Do the Blues still have a charitable obligation, and if so, what form is that going to take? What could be the role of other insurance agencies out there?”

    Philadelphia-based Community Legal Services has threatened to sue over Corbett’s decision to end the program. Harley brushed off the threat.

    “The state gets sued about 70 times a week,” he said.

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