PHAN, former adultBasic policyholder testify to House Democratic Policy Committee today in Erie

The House Democratic Policy Committee, chaired by Rep. Mike Sturla (Lancaster) has been holding hearings about adultBasic and other critical health care issues in Pennsylvania—namely, the new GOP-led legislative attacks on the Affordable Care Act in Pennsylvania through things like H.B. 42, which would prohibit the state from enforcing the individual responsibility provisions in the new law, and essentially, halt it’s implementation. We’ve written about this bill here and here, and will continue working to make sure that this partisan attack on the Affordable Care Act doesn’t make it to the Governor’s desk.

We talked more about H.B. 42, and it’s implications for Pennsylvania families at the hearing today. But the bulk of our testimony focused on what losing adultBasic will mean for the 42,000 people who saw their coverage shut off effective March 1st.

Read the full text of our testimony here. But more importantly, listen to the story of Karen Carpinello, a mother of 3 and small business owner from Waterford in Erie County. She and her husband have both relied on adultBasic since 2002, and they have no idea where to turn now that’s it ended. Here’s what Karen said today:

“Hi, my name is Karen Carpinello and this is my husband Gary. We have been married almost 31 years now. I am 50 years old and Gary is 59, and will turn 60 in June. We have three children: our oldest daughter Jessie is 29—she has three children of her own; our middle daughter Trish is 26 and is expecting their third child in June; and then of course our youngest son Tony just turned 8 in January. He was our little surprise God blessed us with.

We started our own small Commercial Cleaning business back in 1994. We were lucky to get covered by adultBasic in 2002, and our son is covered on CHIP. We make to much money to qualify for Medicaid but not even close to enough to afford private insurance. We would have to decide whether to pay our bills and eat, or pay the high price of insurance.

I've called around and the prices are ridiculous. Right now, for my husband and me, we could get insurance for $745 a month. Then in July, when Gary turns 60, our monthly premium would go up to $1100. Then there the problems that come with having a pre-existing condition: either the insurance company won’t cover you, or you have to wait so many months before they’ll cover you. I have high blood pressure and Gary has high cholesterol, and I dont know what we would have done without adultBasic.

My son was born by C-section and I was in the hospital for a week—I dont know how we would have ever paid for that if not for adultBasic. I’m supposed to have surgery soon for a torn tibial tendon in my ankle. My doctor wanted to try physical therapy first, which I did this past summer, but it didn’t work.

There is no way we could afford to have the surgery done now; even if we had the Special Care insurance, that wouldn’t help because it doesn’t cover any physical therapy. When I went before it was over $100 each time. There is no way we can afford that.

We were lucky enough to get Gary in to get his Carpal Tunnel treatment done on his right hand, which the doctor said was in much worse shape than the left hand, but the left hand still needs done at some point. Before Gary's Carpal Tunnel surgery, the doctors sent him for an EKG, which came back abnormal. The doctor wanted him to have a Nuclear Stress Test done but the insurance denied it (I assume because it was so close to ending), but thankfully the doctor was able and willing to use the treadmill test instead. Thank God they said it was good.

We want to be around to watch our son graduate from High School. He needs us. I dont want somebody else raising our son. Without insurance—if anything happens to us—I dont know what we'll do.

We dont have a big house or fancy car but what we have, we worked hard for. Without adultBasic, we can’t afford to get sick. If we would happen to get sick, we won’t even be able to go to the doctor. An office visit alone is $54.00, and that’s not counting tests or any procedures we might need to have done.

My mother was my age when she passed away. She had high blood pressure and died of a massive stroke. I didn’t know until after that she didn't have money for her HBP medicine. Gary's Aunt is diabetic and only takes half of the insulin she is supposed to because she can't afford it.

It makes me sick that people have to decide between eating and taking their medicine. It’s just not right. Something needs to be done so all people can afford health care coverage.

Please help get adultBasic insurance back or another affordable insurance like it.”

The 11 members of the committee were visibly moved by Karen’s testimony. They talked about how stories like hers remind us why we can’t lose this fight. They pledged to continue fighting, and to continue pushing their colleagues and the Governor to do the right thing and bring adultBasic back.

They can’t win it on their own, though. They need all of us to keep writing, to keep calling (717-787-2500) and emailing the Governor, to keep meeting our legislators, to keep talking to the media and to keep sharing the stories of folks that have lost their coverage.

We can’t let the 42,000 people like Karen down.

Contact us today to learn more about how you can help! And please join us at the next hearing, set for this coming Thursday, March 24th at 10am in the William E. Anderson Library of Penn Hills, 1037 Stotler Road, Pittsburgh.

Comments

Amen!

We couldn't have said it any better, Stella. You are absolutely right and we're going to keep fighting every day to make sure folks in Harrisburg DO something to solve this crisis. Shutting out hardworking people, leaving them with no options is absolutely unconscionable. The Carpinello's are wonderful people and they deserve better than what our Governor has done.

 

Adult Basic

Karen and Gary Carpinello are my neighbors and are some of the hardest working people I know.  These are not people who want something for nothing - they just want something that's fair.  We should all stand up and stand behind our friends and neighbors who are fighting for the ability to get basic medical attention when needed.  Tell Harrisburg they can't eliminate Adult Basic without taking the moral responsibility for the suffering caused by untreated medical conditions and potential deaths that could result from a lack of appropriate medical care.  Don't accept the lie that it's necessary to balance the budget on the backs of the working class when there is money allocated from the tobacco industry settlement that was earmarked specifically for this purpose.

i am mother of three 

i am mother of three  kids...single and after accident at work.My income is  couple hundred  dollars higher to obtain medicade... And my emloyer fight so badly to cut it...I was waiting 3 years for Adult Basic...never got it...And just few days before i felt  and sprained my anckle...and X rays showed not only this but also something what may be a bone cancer...i cannot afford MRI it is 500 dolars.So i am just preying...God please let me live just few years more to be for my children.The yungest is two years old but the oldest is about to finish a collage ...

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