Health Care Reform

Six Months after the End of adultBasic

A blog post by Sharon Ward, originally published at Third and State.

It has already been six months since Pennsylvania pulled the plug on the adultBasic health insurance program for 37,588 people. The Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center recently took a look at what happened to the Pennsylvanians who lost their adultBasic coverage on the first of March. While some found health insurance elsewhere, many have simply fallen through the cracks.

In all, fewer than 40% of former adultBasic enrollees have enrolled in Medical Assistance or Special Care, a low-cost, limited benefit product offered by Pennsylvania’s Blue Cross/Blue Shield plans. These were the two options most touted as alternatives for adultBasic enrollees.

According to data provided by the Pennsylvania Departments of Public Welfare and Insurance, only 12,814 former enrollees signed on to the Blues’ Special Care — about 34% of those enrolled in adultBasic when it ended. Special Care came at a cost four times more expensive than adultBasic, and with limits on medical coverage including a four-doctor-visits-per-year cap that may have kept it out of reach for most adultBasic enrollees.

Reminder: Progressive Gubernatorial Debate Thursday, Health Care Rally Wednesday

OUR Gubernatorial Forum, organized to raise the voices of working people, women, the LGBT community and the poor, is happening this Thursday evening at 7 PM. The location is Arch Street United Methodist Church, 55 N. Broad Street in Center City. If you’d like the concerns of regular people to be heard in this campaign, help us fill the Church so that the candidates can see our power. Please come out. We know the weather isn’t great, but being at the great progressive debate of 2010 will warm you up!

Just as importantly, on Wednesday at 12:00 noon, a key rally for health care will take place at Mother Bethel A.M.E. Church, 419 S. 6th Street, just below Pine at Addison Street. The “wise” people in Washington think we’ve given up on quality, affordable health care and that we will give them a pass in November for just letting the issue ride. This rally will say NO to that! Immediately after the rally a march to Washington will take place culminating in a rally there on February 24. Let’s give the marchers a great sendoff that they’ll carry with them all the way.

Health Reform Needed to Lower Costs, Bring Peace of Mind

The Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center is a member of the Pennsylvania Health Access Network (PHAN). Today, PHAN put out a news release responding to an anti-health reform rally at the State Capitol in Harrisburg. Read below and please share far and wide.

HARRISBURG, PA (January 27, 2010) – Health care reform is needed to rein in unsustainable costs and give hardworking Pennsylvanians greater freedom to care for their families and themselves, according to the Pennsylvania Health Access Network (PHAN).

Members of PHAN, a coalition of 50 organizations from across Pennsylvania, addressed the need for health reform, while several Pennsylvania state representatives and their supporters staged an anti-reform rally at the Pennsylvania Capitol Wednesday. The rally promoted state legislation that would hamper federal reform efforts from taking hold in the Commonwealth.

You know you are in downtown Philadelphia...

...when the line of people waiting to get into the healthcare reform town hall meeting is chanting "people not profits!" and has on pink shirts for women's health. The sense I got was of people just really, really wanting someone to give them health insurance.

There were exceptions, but not many (the Inquirer had to reach for a five-paragraph LaRouche anecdote to fill its crazy quota).

A doughy white guy in a navy blazer with gold buttons (you can't make this stuff up) was handing out flyers that appeared mimeographed (even during the 90s reform attempt, there was desktop publishing...). They threatened that "death may be inflicted in your home even if it's against your wishes!" There's a mention of "elderly 'euthenizing' and other disrespectful ending of life" as well as an inexplicable number of references to ACORN taking over. A little research suggests the guy's from Florida.

Mostly, it was Sestak's show. He played it up, both listening and parrying, in total buddy salesman mode. He was good. And it was good to hear him state that a public option was nonnegotiable.

Frequently the audience response didn't make sense, cheering at politically opposite points. But the whole thing was a nice break from the stories that have been flowing in from town halls elsewhere. Instead of the total breakdown of civic discourse we've been seeing, last night felt more like the messy work of coming to consensus in a shared project. Cool.

Thousands of Health Care Workers Stand for Healthcare Reform: Join Us Thursday!

I work every day with home care attendants - workers who support people with disabilities and seniors who live independently at home. As we come to a climax in our national conversation about how to provide every person with quality, affordable health care coverage, I find myself thinking a lot about home care attendants like the folks covered in this front page story in last week’s Philadelphia Weekly.

Brenda McFadden, pictured with her longtime home care consumer, Joseph Pepe.

Tell Senator Specter you support the economic recovery package and health care reform!

The Economic Recovery Package that passed the House last week is now before the Senate. The Republicans are planning a filibuster. Some Democrats are wobbly. And so we are going to need at least two and possibly more Republican votes.

The right-wing is going all out to defeat the bill, thinking that if they beat President Obama now, they can derail his entire domestic program.

We can’t allow them to succeed.

Senator Specter is a key swing vote and needs to hear from you today. You can use the Health Care For America Now call tool to get connected to Senator Specter's Office. Or call (215) 597-7200.

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