PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — People who lost medical coverage when the state ended the adultBasic program are fighting back.
Sheryl Sears has been a working woman all of her life, but she’s never made much money and that’s why she like other 41,000 other working poor depended on the state health insurance called adultBasic.
“We work. It’s not like were asking for a handout,” she said.
Last month, adultBasic became the first victim of the Corbett administration’s budget axe and now in a David and Goliath battle, people like Sheryl are taking on the governor.
“He started with people who probably have a very small voice and as a result he really thought that he was going to be able to get away with it,” William Caroselli, a high-profile Pittsburgh lawyer, said.
Sheryl is now being represented by Caroselli who filed a class action suit against Corbett on behalf of the former users of adultBasic on Monday
Caroselli says the state’s settlement with big tobacco companies specifically earmarks money to fund adultBasic and that Corbett acted illegally when he diverted those funds into state coffers.
“We do not believe he’s acting legally. He has no discretion as I said. He must use that money use that money to fund the adultBasic program,” Caroselli said.
In a statement, the governor’s office said:
“The lawsuit is without merit and will be successfully defended in court. The fiscal reality is that adultBasic is not a financially sustainable program.”
Meanwhile, Sheryl has opted into another program offered by the state that at $125 is five times as expensive as adultBasic.
“Some of the things I should pay, one of the bills may go lacking, because health care is the priority,” she said.
Others, Caroselli says, have no insurance at all.
“If something happens to them, they are not going to be able to go to a hospital, or go to an emergency room or go to a physician or anything unless they have the means to pay it and these folks don’t have the means to pay it,” he said.