Legislators want permanent fix for Medicare aid program - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Legislators want permanent fix for Medicare aid program

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Legislative leaders say they want to find a way to permanently fix a popular program they cut in the new state budget that helps cover the cost of Medicare-related expenses for tens of thousands of senior citizens and people with disabilities. 

It's unclear when or if lawmakers might hold a special legislative session on the matter or the growing state budget deficit that has developed.

"We are having discussions but there are no plans for a special session at this time," House Speaker Joe Aresimowicz said. 

Gov. Dannel Malloy and lawmakers went behind closed doors to figure out a fix for the latest state budget deficit.

"I was told in that room there was a plan for a special session and come in before Christmas," Malloy said. "That's what I was told."

Both Malloy and lawmakers spoke to the media after their meeting on Wednesday afternoon.

Malloy and lawmakers attempted to tackle the latest projection from Connecticut Comptroller Kevin Lembo on Wednesday, according to Democratic Senate President Martin Looney.

Lembo reported that the state is projected to end the 2017-2018 fiscal year with a $207.8 million deficit. That amount means Malloy is required to present a deficit-cutting deal to the General Assembly.

Lembo also cited concern about the implications of the Republican tax plan on the national level. He said federal tax reform could have profound effects on the state.

Lauralyn Lewis said her son, Justin, lives independently, but he is a cancer patient. Justin Lewis also has down syndrome. His mother said the medicare cuts will make his health insurance more expensive.

"Every last cent goes to his living, he has nothing left over for recreation and he certainly doesn't have anything left over to make up the difference," Lauralyn Lewis said. "And so would mostly likely go without some of the tests because I wouldn't be able to cover it for him."

Looney says Wednesday's announcement by the Connecticut Department of Social Services that it will temporarily delay plans to reduce eligibility for the program provides lawmakers with more time to find the necessary funding.

Both lawmakers and DSS have received complaints from seniors and families about the eligibility cutbacks, which were part of the new bipartisan state budget lawmakers negotiated.

Copyright 2016 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved.