Rep. Zawistowski Votes for Medicare Savings Program Fix

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HARTFORD—State Rep. Zawistowski (R-61) on Tuesday voted for a bipartisan plan that would provide funding for the Medicare Savings Program (MSP) through the end of the fiscal year.

MSP helps seniors and the disabled pay for Medicare co-insurance, deductibles and premiums. Connecticut was one of five states whose income eligibly limits exceeded the federal minimum level. The budget adopted 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 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.

“I am extremely happy that we reached a bipartisan arrangement to fund this service through the fiscal year. It is important to remember that it is not just the elderly who benefit from this program, many low income disabled persons rely on it as well,” Rep. Zawistowski said. “There are few alternative to MSP for people to turn to. The legislature’s business is not over; the regular legislative session begins in February and we will focus on closing projected deficits.”

The MSP plan was approved in the House through 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.

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