Friday, January 19, 2018

Rep. Sampson Votes to Restore Funding for Medicare Savings Program

HARTFORDState Representative Rob Sampson (R-80) voted to restore funding to the Medicare Savings Plan (MSP) during a special session of the Connecticut General Assembly on Monday, January 8, 2018. Rep. Sampson voted against the compromise budget plan passed in October that included eligibility reductions to this program.

“Connecticut’s only hope for surviving this fiscal crisis is prioritization,” said Rep. Sampson. “Providing assistance to our most vulnerable residents is always a priority for me. Our seniors have worked long and hard. Their golden years should not be burdened with difficult choices and uncertainty regarding their healthcare. I am pleased that we were able to restore funding for this crucial program without resorting to tax increases, but rather by making sensible cuts to an oversized state government.”

MSP provides financial assistance to nearly 113,000 Connecticut seniors and disabled individuals who relying on these funds to pay for Medicare coinsurance, deductibles and premiums. The program, administered to qualified individuals based on income eligibility limits, was set to be reduced to match federal eligibility limits.
Prior to passage of the current budget, Connecticut was one of five states that exceeded federal eligibility. Had funding not been restored, some recipients would have seen significant reductions in assistance while others would have become completely ineligible.

“Initially, the Department of Social Services had pushed the implementation of these cuts from the January 1st, 2018 deadline to March 1st,” added Rep. Sampson. “Despite this grace period, my colleagues and I felt that immediate action was needed. We signed letters and successfully petitioned for a special session to address this immediately.”

In order to restore funding, the legislature needed to make available $53.9 million. These savings included consolidation of human resources into the Department of Administrative Services, required reductions to managers and consultants, and required the governor to achieve balance of agencies’ “other expenses” within the budget. In addition, the General Assembly specified that those savings must come from the executive branch only and that any cuts are limited to ten percent per program.

Furthermore, a carryforward in the budget from FY18 to FY 19 was eliminated because it was viewed as bad policy to move money into the following year’s budget when the state was currently in deficit. Many of these savings were promoted under Governor Malloy’s deficit mitigation plan, but not put into effect by the governor.

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