Christine Stuart / ctnewsjunkie
House Speaker Joe Aresimowicz, D-Berlin (Christine Stuart / ctnewsjunkie)

HARTFORD, CT — As promised, the General Assembly on Wednesday voted to override Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s veto of the funding to maintain benefits to the Medicare Savings Program.

The House voted 131-4 and the Senate voted 30-1 to override the veto.

In his veto message, Malloy called the bill “wishful thinking, double-counting, and pushing problems off into the future.”

The override will only extend the current benefit levels until July 1.

In 2019, the program will fall short $130 million, if the same level of benefits are funded for more than 100,000 residents.

“I do believe that the way we are funding this is disingenuous,” Rep. Diana Urban, D-North Stonington, said Wednesday.

However, she said the program is a necessity.

“It needs to be done in a fiscally responsible way so that our seniors and our disabled can rest assured that this is taken care of,” Urban said.

Urban was one of the four lawmakers in the House to vote against the measure.

She’s not alone in her concern about the future of the program.

“I’ll be honest with you guys,” Rep. Cathy Abercrombie, D-Meriden, told a group of consumer advocates last week. “I don’t know where we’re getting the money.”

Abercrombie said they are working to see if there’s any changes they can make to the program to lower the cost to the state, while maintaining the maximum level of benefits for the elderly and disabled who use it to help pay their Part B premiums and co-pays.

“There is no solution at this point for 2019, which means the cut that’s in the budget as of right now stands,” Abercrombie said.

Rep. Craig Fishbein, R-Wallingford, who voted against the override, said he couldn’t vote to increase the deficit in 2019.

“I support the program and its recipients but I could not cast a vote to increase the state budget deficit, and certainly not when it only creates a 5-month, temporary reprieve,” Fishbein said. “When I voted against the original bill I said the program needed substantial overhaul to better serve the people it is intended to serve.”