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Srinivasan Votes to Reverse Cuts to Medicare Program

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HARTFORDState Representative Prasad Srinivasan (R-Glastonbury) on Monday voted on a plan that would provide funding for the Medicare Savings Program (MSP) through the end of the fiscal year.

MSP is a Medicaid program that helps seniors and the disabled pay for Medicare co-insurance, deductibles and premiums. Connecticut was one of five states whose income eligibility limits exceeded the federal minimum level. Legislators in adopting the budget in October 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 in December announced 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.

“The origin of the legislation that we voted on yesterday can be found in Public Act 17-2,” said Rep. Srinivasan. “I voted against this budget bill in October because of the way it balanced the state deficit on the backs of our seniors. I stood in the House Chamber and expressed my concerns, explaining why I couldn’t support it. As we all know, my worries unfortunately became reality. I supported the resolution yesterday because it was the right thing to do at this time. I am, however, concerned about what will happen going forward. I am afraid that the 2018 deficit will again be settled at the expense of Connecticut’s senior citizens and their health. This is a temporary resolution that extends current Medicare coverage through July – we need a long-term solution that will save the nearly 450 Glastonbury citizens who rely on this program from making very difficult decisions regarding the basic quality of life services they need.”

The MSP plan was approved in the House by a vote of 130 to 3. 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 Senate approved the plan 32 to 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 budgetary issues. Rep. Srinivasan will be holding Office Hours on January 30th from 6:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. at the Wells Turner Library in Glastonbury. A sign-up sheet will be available upon arrival for one-on-one time with Rep. Srinivasan.

“I wish all of my constituents a happy, healthy and prosperous new year and look forward to my upcoming office hours to have an opportunity to discuss issues concerning both our town and our state,” said Rep. Srinivasan.