Proposal to have special session to restore Medicaid funding results in bickering

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HARTFORD — Democratic and Republican leaders are trying to convene a special session to restore Medicaid funding cuts in the bi-partisan budget less than two months ago.

The tentative date is December 19th but that is not yet set in stone because of complications surrounding how lawmakers can call themselves into a special session. According to state law, they are required to go through a petition process which can take time.  However, lawmakers pointed out the Governor could call lawmakers in immediately.

Republican leadership sending out a statement today saying a bi-partisan agreement has been reached on restoring funding to the Medicare Savings Program, and quick action is need.

“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.”

Governor Malloy’s administration however, shot back.

In a statement Governor Malloy’s Communications Director Kelly Donnelly wrote:

“Let’s get this straight – Republican leaders have issued a statement to press about a letter they sent to Democratic leaders regarding a proposed letter they may send to the Governor in which they ask him to call them into session – and even if he does they still won’t act to close the deficit in the bipartisan budget?  And this all has to be done right away.  Do we have that right?”

The statement going on to say:

“This is absurd.  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 released a statement on the Medicare Savings Program today saying,

“The Governor made it clear that he will not call the General Assembly in on December 19. Fortunately, the administration has rightly delayed any cuts to the Medicare Savings Program for two months.

“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.”

The Governor and lawmakers received pushback on the changes, which reduced eligibility limits for individuals qualifying for the program.  The state delayed the changes for two months to give lawmakers time to analyze the impact. Lawmakers are now looking to restore that funding which will cost more than twenty million dollars in the 2018 budget, which is already seeing a deficit of more than two hundred million dollars.