EASTON, Pa. — Ken Kewley woke up Tuesday without health insurance for the first time in nearly nine years.
So did most of the 41,467 other Pennsylvanians who had been covered by adultBasic, a state-subsidized insurance program for the working poor that Gov. Tom Corbett shut down on Monday in one of the largest disenrollments in recent memory.
Mr. Corbett, a Republican elected in November, has said the program he inherited is not sustainable with Pennsylvania facing a $4 billion budget shortfall. He blames his predecessor, Edward G. Rendell, a Democrat, for not keeping the plan solvent. His administration notified beneficiaries in late January that their coverage would expire Feb. 28.
For Mr. Kewley, 57, an abstract artist in this gritty town in the Lehigh Valley, it meant the end of the coverage that made possible an aortic valve replacement last May. While the life-saving procedure cost about $85,000, he said he had paid only $915 out of pocket.
The state has pointed Mr. Kewley toward other options, but the coverage would be less comprehensive and the premiums far higher than the $36 he had been paying each month. Now any minor symptom, like a mild pinch in his chest, prompts a devil’s calculation about whether he can afford to have it checked.