Beshear, Williams At Odds Over Medicaid Fix

Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear’s plan for balancing the state Medicaid budget is getting the cold shoulder from Senate President David Williams, who’s running for Beshear’s job this year.

Gov. Beshear says the Medicaid program in the second year of the state budget is balanced. It’s the current year he’s worried about, and he wants to move $166 million from the second year to the first. He would then use savings from managed care to cover the second year deficit.

“It is a short-term fix, but it’s much more than that. It is also part of a multi-pronged strategy for the future of the Medicaid program,” the governor said.

Beshear says his plan has bipartisan support, but Senate President David Williams isn’t buying it.

“He wants to use a blank check for Medicaid. It’s out of control,” said Williams.

Ultimately, it will be up to lawmakers to resolve the thorny issue when the 2011 legislative session resumes on February 1st.

By Tony McVeigh

Veteran broadcast journalist Tony McVeigh has been covering Kentucky politics since 1986, reporting for Clear Channel Communications before joining Kentucky Public Radio in 2004. His stories are aired by seven KPR affiliates, whose signals blanket the Commonwealth and parts of surrounding states. McVeigh began his broadcasting career at WRFC in Athens, Georgia, while earning a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from the University of Georgia. He has extensive anchor/reporter experience, including stints with South Carolina Network and Georgia Radio News Service in Atlanta. In 2007 and 2008, McVeigh was named Best Radio Reporter in the Kentucky Associated Press Awards. He also picked up consecutive AP Awards for Best Political Coverage. McVeigh won four Kentucky AP Awards in 2009, six in 2010 - including Best Political Coverage and Best Hard News Feature - and three in 2011. His coverage of the 2007 Kentucky governor's race topped the Political Reporting category of the Society of Professional Journalists Green Eyeshade Awards of 2008. In 2009, McVeigh placed second in Courts and Law Reporting in the Atlanta-based competition for journalists in 11 Southern states. McVeigh is also the proud recipient of an Individual Liberty Award from the Kentucky Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. The Brunswick, Georgia, native is a die-hard UGA football fan who enjoys photography, astronomy, live music, hiking Kentucky's Red River Gorge and exploring the state's beautiful back roads. McVeigh and his big, fat, black cat Simon, reside in Frankfort, KY.