At a Capitol news conference Wednesday, state Sen. John Yudichak advocated for legislation that would use the General Assembly's $189 million budget surplus to finance the adultBasic program for another year. Currently, the program is set to end on March 1.
"AdultBasic provides critical healthcare to over 40,000 people – a remarkable program that was started back in 2002 and really put Pennsylvania at the forefront of providing affordable healthcare to workers," Yudichak said at the news conference.
The legislative leadership budget is used to pay for caucus offices, salaries and other expenses.
"There are few line items in the budget that have a surplus. Legislative leadership accounts have a surplus," Yudichak said.
Using the General Assembly budget surplus would sustain the program for another year, through April 2012, provided that adultBasic expenses remain at the current $14 million a month.
"This is certainly about personal health, but it is also about the economic health of Pennsylvania," Yudichak added. We cannot turn 40,000 people away and pull the rug out from under them and end their security."
Gov. Corbett supports getting rid of the adultBasic program and rolling recipients into the Blues' Special Care program. However, the premiums are more than double the cost of AdultBasic, which is $36 a month compared to $80 to $140 a month for Special Care.
Yudichak added that in his legislative district of Luzerne, Carbon and Monroe counties, over 1,000 people are served by adultBasic.
The bill, Senate Bill 420, is sponsored by state Sen. Michael Stack.
"I support Sen. Stack's proposal because I see adultBasic as a patient in critical condition. This (adultBasic) is their triage – we need to stabilize the patient, we need to sustain it until we can find a long term solution," Yudichak said. "There is no question, we need to sustain this program for those 40,000 people who go to work every day and provide for their children. We need this legislation.