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Reps. Lavielle, Wilms and Wood Hosting Coffee and Conversation in Norwalk on Friday, January 26th

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NORWALK – Norwalk’s Republican State House delegation of Representatives Gail Lavielle (R-143), Fred Wilms (R-142), and Terrie Wood (R-141) are inviting their constituents to attend office hours with them on the morning of Friday, January 26th at the Norwalk Inn on East Ave. They will meet with any interested constituents for coffee and conversation from 7:30 a.m. until 9:00 a.m.

This is an opportunity for constituents to meet with their state representatives and speak with them about the upcoming legislative session, the recently-adopted state budget, upcoming legislation, and other issues they would like to hear addressed.

 

Anyone who is unable to attend but would still like to speak to Reps. Lavielle, Wilms, or Wood may contact them by calling 800-842-1423 or by email at Gail.Lavielle@housegop.ct.gov, Fred.Wilms@housegop.ct.gov, and Terrie.Wood@housegop.ct.gov .

Rep. Lavielle Holding Office Hours in Wilton on January 23rd

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WILTON State Rep. Gail Lavielle (R-143) invites her constituents to attend office hours with her on the morning of Tuesday, January 23rd at Orem’s Diner in Wilton. She will meet with any interested constituent for coffee and conversation on from 7:30 a.m. until 9:00 a.m.

This is an opportunity to meet with Rep. Lavielle and speak with her about the upcoming legislative session, the recently-adopted state budget, pending legislation, and other issues they would like to hear addressed by their state representative.

Anyone who is unable to attend but would still like to speak to Rep. Lavielle may contact her at Gail.Lavielle@housegop.ct.gov.

Rep. Lavielle Votes to Restore Funding for Medicare Savings Program as Legislature Approves Plan

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HARTFORD –State Representative Gail Lavielle (R-143) on Monday voted for a bipartisan plan that would provide funding for the Medicare Savings Program (MSP) through the end of the current fiscal year. 

 MSP is a Medicaid program that helps seniors and the disabled pay for Medicare co-insurance, deductibles and premiums. Before the state budget passed, Connecticut was one of five states whose income eligibly limits exceeded the federal minimum level. In adopting the budget in October, the legislature, carrying over a provision included in Governor Dannel P. Malloy’s budget proposal, reduced the eligibility to the federal minimum, consequently reducing or eliminating coverage for many of the program’s thousands of participants. The state’s Department of Social Services then announced in December that it would delay implementation of the eligibility reduction by two months, giving concerned program participants a reprieve from an unexpected jump in their healthcare costs as lawmakers worked to find $53 million to fund the program through June.  

 In December, Rep. Lavielle said the legislature had a “moral responsibility” to reconvene and restore funding for this program in order to stop the harm that this provision of the budget would cause for seniors and disabled populations.

 “It is an encouraging sign that the legislature was able to respond swiftly and decisively to the outcry over these unexpected cuts to the MSP, and that the plan to restore its funding was drafted and approved on a bipartisan basis,” said Rep. Lavielle.  “During our short session that begins in February, we must make it a priority to ensure that health coverage for seniors, people with disabilities, and other vulnerable populations remains secure as the budget deficit persists. To avoid similar issues in the future, it will be imperative to make major structural changes to the state’s finances, including measures to halt the precipitous growth of the state’s employment benefits costs.”

 The MSP plan was approved in the House on a 130 to 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.

 The State Senate approved the plan 32-1 in a vote later in the day.

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

Reps. Lavielle, Wilms, & Wood Volunteer to Raise Money for the Salvation Army in Norwalk

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NORWALK State Representatives Gail Lavielle (R-143), Fred Wilms (R-142), and Terrie Wood (R-141 teamed up with the Salvation Army on Tuesday to ring the bell outside Stop & Shop on Main Ave. in Norwalk and raise money for local residents in need this holiday season as a part of their Red Kettle Campaign. They stood outside the store and asked shoppers to contribute money to the kettle. All proceeds went to the Salvation Army.

“I’m grateful that the money we collected will go directly towards helping struggling families have a happy holiday season,” said Rep. Lavielle. “We would all like to thank the Salvation Army for the work they do on behalf of local residents by helping with heating costs, putting food on the table, and providing winter clothing. I’m happy we could help with those important efforts.”

“During this time of year it is important to remember those less fortunate, and to extend help to our neighbors in need,” said Rep. Wilms. “Participating in the Salvation Army’s Red Kettle Campaign has been humbling. As the holidays approach, I can’t think of a better way to give back to the community than by volunteering my time for this great cause. I encourage my constituents to reach out to those less fortunate during this season of giving, if possible, and thank those who have already donated. I am proud to represent a district that displays so much generosity not only during the holidays, but year round.”

“Every little bit really does help, and this campaign really shows how your donations impact the lives of people who may be struggling during this time of year,” said Rep. Wood. “I was proud to be a part of this holiday tradition in volunteering for the Salvation Army. I encourage all of my constituents to do what they can to look out for others in their community as well.”

The legislators wanted to note that anyone unable to make it to Stop & Shop on Tuesday could still help them raise money for the Salvation Army by texting “CTREP” to 71777 and donating directly to the House and Senate Republicans’ Red Kettle. Donors may also visit the Salvation Army’s website at www.salvationarmyusa.org to learn of other ways to do good this holiday season; for example, by donating cars, clothing, household goods, airline miles, bonds and stocks, or volunteering for the community.

The Salvation Army responds to natural disasters such as wildfires and tornadoes, provides meals and toys to families in need, and conducts research and analyses regarding human needs around the country. They also provide adult rehabilitation, veteran services, elderly services, missing person searches, housing assistance, youth recreation, sponsorship, and support in the fight to end human trafficking.

Rep. Lavielle Calls on Legislature to Reconvene Immediately and Fix Medicare Savings Program Reductions

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HARTFORD –State Representative Gail Lavielle (R-143) called on the legislature on Thursday to reconvene “as soon as possible” and commit to restoring funding for approximately 113,000 elderly and disabled people who would lose all or part of their health coverage as a result of cuts to the Medicare Savings Program (MSP) in the recently-adopted state budget. The two-year budget adopted by the General Assembly reduces the income eligibility limits for all categories of participants in the program, in many cases by as much as 50%.

“Both chambers of the legislature have a moral responsibly to take action immediately and stand up for the seniors who were harmed by this provision in the budget,” said Rep. Lavielle.  “If we do not, seniors and the disabled who currently benefit from the MSP will see an instant and drastic increase in their healthcare costs next year.  We have heard from countless constituents and Connecticut seniors who will simply be unable to afford the care they rely on.  It is unconscionable to allow this to happen and we need to reconvene sooner rather than later to fix this, preferably before the end of the year.”

The Department of Social Services (DSS) announced on Wednesday that it would delay implementation of eligibility reductions to the state’s MSP program until March 1, 2018, while it conducts a review of coverage alternatives, a development Rep. Lavielle called “helpful in the short term, but absolutely not a solution or a source of reassurance for the 86,000 low-income seniors who would be disqualified from the program and the 27,000 who would have their coverage reduced.”  She also noted that many of these seniors might not qualify for alternative coverage.

The reduction of income eligibility for the MSP, which is paid for with Medicaid funding, was carried over from Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s budget proposal. The changes would save the state $53.9 million in 2018 and $130 million in 2019. Rep. Lavielle pointed to the devastating impact on the budget of the SEBAC union contract approved in July that locked in expensive state union benefits for ten years.

“The appalling truth is that because of the SEBAC public-sector union agreement negotiated by Governor Malloy and approved on a party-line vote exclusively by majority legislators, unionized state employees will continue to receive guaranteed access to retirement healthcare benefits for life and it is being paid for by indigent seniors in Connecticut who are losing theirs,” said Rep. Lavielle.  “Majority legislators refused even to vote for a budget before an agreement with state employee unions was approved.  They made it clear that the state unions are a much higher priority for them than Connecticut’s vulnerable elderly and disabled.  This sends an ugly message to Connecticut residents and the rest of the country.  It is urgent to address the problem.  These people are desperately worried about their health and about their lives.  They shouldn’t have to wait for an answer.”

House and Senate leadership are currently discussing the MSP situation and are considering whether to convene before the beginning of the regular session in February.