Working Poor Sue Gov. Corbett Over AdultBasic Funding

BY Andy Sheehan, KDKA Investigator

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.

Pa. Gov. Corbett Defends Budget
Corbett Presents Budget With Steep Spending Cuts
Protestors Rally To Save AdultBasic Health Care

Pennsylvania Insurance Department
Governor Corbett’s 2011-12 Proposed Budget

  • Jack F

    Corbett has been a huge disappointment. I thought he would be an honest man. I am glad people are taking a stand against him. Taking healthcare away from the poor and refusing to tax the gas companies are incredulous moves. Shame on you Tom Corbett

    • A.Bunker

      Gov. Corbett is doing a fine job so far. Its going to take time to clean up the mess left by fast eddie rendell. I support the Gov. 100%

      • mixed reviews

        I like Corbett but I do disagree with what he is cutting. Why go after our schools and healthcare. Start with cutting the government employee’s paychecks and freeze their pays for the next 30 years! Plus make them use the same healthcare everyone else uses. Start with the government to cut back, they can afford it! Supporting the Gov is never a good thing, they take away and never give back!

      • Mark

        Good job Archie, you completely ignored the points Jack made about refusing to tax the gas companies and taking health care away from the working poor. You are a typical sheep that watches fox views and would support Hitler as long as he cut your taxes. You support him “100%” but your post has 0% facts for why you do so. Did you think we wouldn’t notice?

  • Mike Viddy

    The hospitals can not deny you medical care, at least in PA, no matter what your financial situation. they have to teart you by law, and they do. I found out first hand. Caroselli is lying and fear mongering… I hate liars…

    • Harris

      Thats only if you go to the ER. And they can deny you if you don’t have something life threatening. .

  • jerry o

    this is what Obama wanted ,this is why all of you voted for Obama-now- go sign up for OBAMACARE he’s supposed to take care of everyone

    • denise

      This is Corbettcare. And you people that think that this is Obama’s health plan, most of it hasn’t even taken effect yet.

      • hater

        Obama sucks! Get rid of him before our country crumbles!

  • darla

    they may treat you then sue you for everything you have worked your whole life for to cover the outragous bills you aquire if you suffer from cancer or serious illness. or cost you double for a problem an antibiotic could have healed if you could have afforded a doctor visit. I believe in paying your bills however one illness could cost you what you would earn in 3 lifetimes if you are working poor. If you could afford insurance it would help , but when a family plan wipes out a paycheck and ahalf, you have to pray you dont get sick.

  • jim

    you will never see another republican in office they lied lied and lied about everthing

    • lie

      Republican – democrat they ALL LIE!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Mark

    And do you really think Onorato would’ve been much better??

    • paul

      Nice going Govenor Corbett.. Oh, I forgot. Was leaving the states represenative health plan alone ( 100% pay nothing ) and the Senate ( 1 % pay )  an over site? Also, remolding the Lt Govenor’s mansion and the automatic pay raises that were kept in effect also an ov er site? All lawyers may not be crooks but I suggest we take a hard look at Corbett.

  • Mary

    I was on the waiting list for what the adult basic said would be 2 years. The first year I paid $345 a month for the BUY IN OPTION so I would at least have insuance even if it wasn’t with prescription coverage. The second year it went from $600 to $629 to $636. After the 2 years was up I called to ask why I was still paying that amount only to be told that it would be at least 2 1/2 to 3 years before my name came up on the list. 3 months later I got the letter saying I would no longer get adult basic after February 28th. Talk about being hoodwinked.

  • James

    gee, wonder if a democrat is behind the lawsuit. I doubt Sheryl took it upon herself to file this.

  • Mary

    What really makes me angry is the fact that Tom Corbett insisted he was going to cut , cut, cut , but the legslators got a 6% cost of living raise and they complained when Corbett ASKED them to help pay for their insurance. Social Security recipiants were told the past few years that there wasn’t a cost of living increase and they got NOTHING extra.

  • Joyce Ruth

    We need to get REFERENDUM in this state and cut the legislature that is bleeding us dry!

  • sieben13

    This is what you get when 35-37% of registered voters VOTE, if you think that repuglicans have the poor & middle class Americans best interest at heart , then continue not to VOTE

  • sherry

    After reading the article, I’m just curious how Sheryl has opted into another state plan for $125 a month. All information I’ve been given about this has the cost stated at $162 a month for the least expensive option. Are there options that not everyone has been notified about?

    • robin

      I was on the Adult Basic Plan since the beginning and I like you have looked around for the cheapest plan. My problem is I have pre-existing conditions so it is harder for me to find insurance. I was offered the 162 but I am only working part time right now because of my health. Can someone please let me know if there is a cheaper plan out there.

  • Tired of Low Lifes

    First, a newsflash for the “working poor” – if you work full time, your EMPLOYER should be supplying your medical insurance – not the government. Second, if your job pays so little and does not give you insurance – do you have a college degree? When you were in your twenties it was your responsibility to figure out how to make a good living for yourself. For most folks that means some time of post secondary education. Some folks got out of high school, had babies before they knew how to pay for them, now they work in Walmart and are made at Corbett for taking the insurance that the government was not supposed to give them anyway. The choices you made after high school is what made you “working poor”. You could have BEEN a legislator yourself and not worry about insurance.

    • Robyn Wakefield

      Wow. That’s awfully Socially Darwinistic of you (if you even know what that means.

      First of all, just because you have a college degree does not mean that your employer provides health insurance. I not only have a college degree, but a Masters of Science as well. I have had TWO jobs now that paid a decent wage, but did not provide healthcare and did not pay enough to cover a private plan.

      Second of all, some “folks” (since you prefer the colloquial term for “people”) do not have the skills necessary to function in post-secondary education. And if everybody got a college degree, you would need one in order to work at Wendy’s making french fries. Do we really want to see that happen?

      • dave

        Ha ha, you have a masters nd still can’t get a job with benefits? Call McDonalds, I hear they have good plans!

      • Garrett

        But I bet you can afford to have the fanciest new high end cell phone and a plan to match. You also probably have a huge HDTV with an expensive cable or satellite package.
        People just need to get over this entitlement mentality and make some sacrifices.


      “There is a Republican Thought for you”

    • Bill

      Maybe first off Mr. College Degree hot shot, you should learn how to spell. Not everybody is fortunate enough to be able to receive or afford a “degree”. And if there were no general laborers to work at the Wal-Marts and such who would wait on your not so intelligent rear?

  • D. Trump

    Waaahh, the govt. decided to stop paying for my free ride. The sense of entitlement from so many makes me sick. There are alternatives out there if you do a little bit of homework. I’m self employed and get my insurance through an online broker and pay $125 per month.

    • Lily

      Seriously…what is the url????


    • Laura

      And do you have a pre-existing condition? A lot of people that were on AdultBasic have pre-existing conditions. News flash people, this could happen to you someday. You could have an illness & be rejected for insurance or have to pay a very high price for insurance or have insurance that doesn’t even cover health problems you’ve had in the past. There are people who have college educations who get health problems, who don’t qualify for disability, but can’t work as much as they would like to, or have to settle for lower paying jobs because of their illness. I guess only those privileged to never get sick deserve decency & respect. Just remember all of you who are so quick to judge people without health insurance – It could happen to you or your loved ones someday.

  • rizzle

    I hate to say it, but i agree with Corbett. The free ride has got to stop at some point. I have insurance through my job and it keeps going up,and i suck it and watch my pay get smaller. What other option do i have. But nobody else is paying for it at least. Why should other people have to pay for your health coverage, section 8, food stamps, etc? Some peoples sense of entitlement is nauseating. 125 a month for insurance is not all that expensive, considering you probably dont have copays. Grow up and take care of yourself.

    • Hwright

      Hey lets just sit back and let them take all our rights away whooopieeee!!!!!!!

  • biggie


  • true

    It is NOT the governments job to take care of you. I fully support Gov. Corbett. You have to start somewhere, I personally would cut all social programs.

  • Jon Weiss

    The entitlement must stop now if there is to be any kind of a balanced budget. All the “entitlement programs” ( SSi, disabilty, welfare) all need a thorough cleansing and those who are bilking the system need kicked off. Just doing that would probably balance the budget.

    • rizzle

      You are 100% percent correct. I work with the public, and they need to prove their income for our services. If you saw all the 20 year olds with ssi, who are able bodied or an access card because they just cant stop having kids it would make you sick. Our taxes are paying this, and they’re driving bmw’s or a lexus

  • marie

    That $125 a month is NOT a plan without co-pays and/or high deductibles.

    Our lawmakers make more money than the “average” tax-paying worker and pay far less out of pocket (if at all) for their health insurance coverage. This information is from 2009, the most recent data I could find.

    • dave

      Then run for office!

  • amy mcmullen

    why don’t we recall the govenor, like they fired that mayor? how do we get started??

  • darlene dominiczak

    I am 61 and my husband is 57 .we both have medical needs and now
    we do not have health care..we did have adult basic..I can not afford any of
    the other health programs..what happened to all americans having health basic needs to be put back in place so everyone that was
    on it gets it back…the pay checks of the governor and all politicians need to
    be cut back…..and no raises in the future……..

    • rizzle

      Well what did your husband and you do for the previous 61 and 57 years? Why shouldnt you or anybody else have to pay for insurance? i work a full time time with benefits and i pay for them. Working americans are tired of helping people who wont help themselves. Pretty soon there will no reason to go to work when you can sit at home and get everything handed to you. If you want health insurance pay for it.

  • darlene

    we do both work ..I work part time and take care of my mother who is very
    ill .my husband has major health issues that caused his job to be dropped
    to part time…we do not just sit at home……hope that health issues never
    cause you to loose hours at your job…you should not judge unless you
    know everything about someone..when our hours were dropped it became
    impossible to pay for health insurance….adult basic is not free it helps
    having the monthly payments lowered

  • Disgusted by the comments

    The ignorance of some of these comments is shameful. How dare any of you judge a hardworking person for not being as educated as you. You are not doing your alma mater any favors by showing the final product of the education they provide. I hope karma never comes for your health, leaving you unable to work. Victims of car accidents and cancer have found that waving around a degree doesn’t cure them. To chastize a person for being ill makes you a monster. For those who are too ignorant to read the story, AdultBasic was not a government handout. There was a settlement from Big Tobacco which was to be used to fund this healthcare program. Covered workers paid a portion of their insurance. Problem with SSI, is that it was meant to supplement pensions which are a thing of the past. A separate tax is removed from your paycheck, essentially making it a savings account for those who paid into it. This money has been borrowed to fund wars, so please direct your anger at those who deserve it. In no way was AdultBasic ever a taxpayer funded insurance. The tobacco settlement money should not go to Tom Corbett’s slush fund. It belongs in the insurance fund that it was intended for.

    • Thank You

      just wanted to say a big thank you to “Disgusted by the Comments” for expessing what I wanted to say to that jerk so eloquintly!

  • Lily

    “Disgusted by the Comments” explained quite succinctly the basis of the Adult Basic program for those like “Rizzle” who apparently like to speak on topics they know nothing about. Thank you.

    We need proof that the coffers from the “Tobacco” settlement have indeed been exhausted, otherwise Corbett is taking money that does not belong to the State of Pennsylvania to use for any other purpose than for healthcare for it’s “low income residents.” (Yes, Rizzle, there were income limits, both minimums and maximums, to qualify for Adult Basic. Free ride my ***.)

    And as far as “Tired of Lowlifes” is concerned, I don’t want to wish you any bad luck, but……. Not everyone was afforded the opportunity to get a degree, some had to go to work directly out of high school, instead of partying while at college. Others who were able to get a degree…some of them cannot get jobs because of the current economy. Try not to show your ignorance and superiority complex. A degree does not make YOU better than anyone else!

  • tax payer

    get jobs you freeloaders,you jagoffs are on SSI and adult basic and collect welfare

    • Disgusted by the comments

      Well actually, the jagoffs have jobs, as paying a portion of the premium is a requirement of AdultBasic. You should be pleased to hear that AdultBasic no longer exists for the jagoffs. Collecting welfare is a great idea though, as it will afford them the insurance coverage they need until the lawsuit is settled. Thank you, tax payer, for your genius idea. You must be one of those self sufficient degree holders who are able cure cancer and walk away from car accidents by waving your credentials. If only everybody had your charm, there wouldn’t be so many jagoffs. So, what do @ssholes like you do for fun when you are done harassing sick people by exposing them to your ignorance?

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