Local Lawmakers Vote to Restore Medicare Assistance for Seniors, Disabled

Henri Martin State Senator in the 31st District

State Representatives Whit Betts (R-78), Cara Pavalock-D’Amato (R-77), and William A. Petit, Jr. (R-22), and State Senator Henri Martin (R-31) on Monday co-sponsored and voted in favor of a bipartisan plan that would provide funding for the Medicare Savings Program (MSP) through the end of the fiscal year.

“I’m pleased that we’ve provided the critical financial support that is vital to the health and well-being of low-income seniors and disabled individuals. In the meantime, we are looking for alternative funding to ensure these individuals will continue to be eligible to receive the health benefits of this program,” said Rep. Betts.

Realizing almost 86,000 low-income seniors would be disqualified from the program and another 27,000 would have their coverage reduced, members from both the House and Senate of the Connecticut General Assembly petitioned the Secretary of the State to call them back into special session in order to restore the previous cut.

“Our message to our seniors and those who are disabled is that we’ve heard you. Last week, over 100 seniors came to the Bristol senior center to advocate for themselves and demand that the legislature act. I’m proud to say that today, I joined my legislative colleagues in taking action to address this issue. However, we are far from finished. I will continue to work with my fellow lawmakers as we now deal with deficit mitigation, to try and find alternative funding to ensure that critical resources for our seniors remains intact,” said Rep. Pavalock-D’Amato.

“Today we acted to restore funding for seniors and those who are disabled. This is a temporary fix, which, while easing the financial burden for those residents, is not a permanent solution. We have far more work to do on finding funding alternatives as we continue to deal with Connecticut’s ongoing fiscal crisis,” said Rep. Petit.

“The legislation passed today shows that health care for Connecticut’s low-income seniors and disabled is a priority for the state,” Sen. Martin said. “Today’s decision is in line with what the legislature intended when the budget was recently passed. I’m glad this was a bipartisan effort and hope the Governor will reconsider his threat to veto the bill.”

The MSP plan was approved in the House through a 130 – 3 vote. Among the methods used to restore program funding is a requirement that Gov. Malloy reduce the number of managers and consultants—a provision included in the adopted budget ignored by the governor. Other components include moving human resources-related functions of some state agencies into the state’s Department of Administrative Services, and requiring the governor to find savings in Executive Branch functions while limiting his ability to cut more than 10 percent from any one program.

State senators approved the plan 32 – 1 in a vote later in the day.

The 2018 legislative session—a so-called short session—starts Feb. 7 and will see lawmakers focus primarily on issues tied to the state budget.


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