Dunsby and Hwang vote to restore Medicare funding

State Sen. Tony Hwang and state Rep. Adam Dunsby voted to provide funding for the Medicare Savings Program.

State Sen. Tony Hwang and state Rep. Adam Dunsby voted to provide funding for the Medicare Savings Program.

State Rep. Adam Dunsby (R-135) and state Sen. Tony Hwang (R-28) voted for a bipartisan plan that would provide funding for the Medicare Savings Program (MSP) through the end of the fiscal year.

Last month, legislators successfully petitioned the General Assembly back into special session in order to address the issue.

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 health care costs as lawmakers worked to find $53 million to fund the program through June.

The MSP plan was approved in the House by a 130-3 vote and in the Senate by a 32-1 vote.

Among the methods used to restore program funding is a requirement that Gov. Dannel Malloy reduce the number of managers and consultants. Other components include moving the 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% from any one program.

The 2018 legislative session starts Feb. 7, when state lawmakers will focus primarily on issues tied to the state budget.

Adam Dunsby represents the 135th General Assembly District communities of Easton, Redding and Weston.

Tony Hwang represents the 28th Senate District communities of Fairfield, Easton, Newtown, and Weston.

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