Meaning of Pa. insurance program ruling proves elusive

    The Corbett administration is working to understand a recent court ruling that throws cold water on the Pennsylvania Legislature’s efforts to move tobacco settlement money around.

    No one — not lawmakers, not the administration — is sure what the next move is.

    A judge deemed unconstitutional two state laws that diverted tobacco settlement money away from adultBasic, the commonwealth’s bygone health insurance program for adults. The program was shut down in 2011 after Gov. Tom Corbett said it was no longer affordable.

    State Budget Secretary Charles Zogby says one area now called into question is how to fund a program that aides say got all the money that stopped going to adultBasic — an entitlement program providing medical assistance for certain Pennsylvanians with disabilities.

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    “You know, it’s an important program and we don’t want to be in a position where we’re jeopardizing the people in that program,” Zogby said.

    The court ruling doesn’t say adultBasic must be re-established — just that the laws diverting money that otherwise would have gone to adultBasic were unconstitutional.

    In fact, it even gives the Legislature the ability to divvy up the tobacco settlement money as lawmakers see fit as long as they pass a measure allowing such a move.

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