Republican lawmakers push for special session to address Medicare Savings Program

HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Republican leaders are suggesting that lawmakers come back to Hartford next Tuesday.

The reason is to restore full funding to the Medicare Savings Program for next year.

Governor Dannel Malloy had pushed back implementation of cuts that affect 113,000 seniors and the disabled to March 1.

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However, legislative leaders want to tackle this now, and requested the governor call a special session.

Republican leaders say the 19th had already been agreed to as a good day to vote on making this fix to the state budget.

Senate Republican President Pro Tempore Len Fasano and House Republican Leader Themis Klarides released the following statement on the topic:

Legislative leaders have reached a bipartisan agreement to adopt changes to the state budget to restore funding in full for the Medicare Savings Program in fiscal year 2018. Because there are questions regarding whether or not legislative leaders can call us in to special session, we had to begin a petition process to call for a special session. Both of our caucuses have been hard at work to get as many signatures as quickly as possible. Unfortunately the petition process means that session cannot be called until at least 10 days after all petitions have been submitted. There are quicker ways to call a session, such as asking the governor to call us in to session, which is what we asked legislative leaders to do this morning. We believe we need to restore the Medicare Savings Program funding as quickly as possible to assist 113,000 low income senior citizens and disabled patients. Further delaying a fix by not asking the governor to call a special session continues unnecessary uncertainty and stress on many individuals and families. We have a solution that legislative leaders negotiated that we are bringing to our caucuses now. We believe we should pursue every path possible to schedule a vote on this fix as soon as possible. We have recently sent the leaders a suggested letter to Governor Malloy that we are asking them to sign to request that the governor call a special session on December 19, 2017, a date previously agreed to by all legislative leaders.”

Gov. Malloy’s Director of Communications Kelly Donnelly issued the following statement in response, which read, in part:

…Republican leaders shouldn’t need the Governor’s permission to come in and do the jobs they were elected to do. Especially when the administration has already delayed changes to the Medicare Savings Program that provide them with the luxury of time to thoughtfully address this particular issue well into the new year.

If and when the legislature does in fact call themselves in, the Governor strongly believes that they should address the full deficit facing the state.”

Senate Democrats Communications Director Adam Joseph also released a statement, which read, in part, “The Senate Democrats are in the process of collecting signatures in order to call the Senate back into session and restore the program well before the deadline.”

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