State Rep. John Fusco (R-81) joined his legislative colleagues and voted to restore funds for this fiscal year to the state’s important Medicare Savings Plan (MSP) that were cut with passage of the bipartisan budget late last year.
MSP is a state program to help seniors and the disabled pay for Medicare coinsurance, deductibles and premiums. The program, administered to qualified individuals based on income eligibility limits, was set to be reduced to the minimum federal eligibility limits.
Prior to passage of the current budget, Connecticut was one of five states that exceeded federal eligibility. According to the press release, this fix was required after it was discovered that tens of thousands of seniors or disabled Connecticut residents would lose the benefit upon recent passage of the bipartisan budget.
“I’m pleased we were able to restore these cuts which will eliminate the worry of unexpected and potentially massive cost increases for our senior and disabled population this year,” Fusco said in the release. “One of my goals during the upcoming legislative session will be to find sustainable ways to deliver important services like this while also restructuring or eliminating ineffective programs so these types of cuts don’t happen in the future. By keeping government spending within a reasonable budget we can avoid having to slash services for needy citizens just to balance the budget half way through the year.”
To close the $53.9 million gap, legislators consolidated human resource functions into the Department of Administrative Services (DAS), required reductions to state employee managers and consultants, required the governor to achieve balance of agencies’ “other expenses” within the budget—and specified those savings must come from the executive branch only and are limited to a 10 percent cut for any one program. The bill also eliminated a carry-forward in the budget from FY18 to FY19.
According to the release, many of these savings were promoted under Gov. Dannel Malloy’s deficit mitigation plan, but not put into effect by the governor.