Beshear’s Medicaid Budget Plan Passes House Committee

Governor Steve Beshear’s plan for balancing Kentucky’s Medicaid budget has passed the House Appropriations and Revenue Committee.

The plan involves moving $166 million from the second year of the Medicaid budget to the current year. Any second-year shortfall will be covered by savings from managed care, says State Budget Director Mary Lassiter.

“It’s not a matter of whether we’re going to balance this budget, it’s a matter of how and when,” she says. “And our plan to save that additional $39 million in state funds is all directly related to our managed care approach and these requests for information.”

Representative Jimmie Lee says if lawmakers fail to enact the governor’s plan, the impact will be disastrous.

“We’ve got to pass this movement of these dollars in order to provide the quality of care that we need for those 800,000. And then we need to have the dedication and the fortitude to move on and look at these areas in ’12 that will provide the managed care approach,” he says.

The committee also said yes to legislation raising the state’s drop out age from 16 to 18 by 2016. The bill, which already has House Education Committee approval, moves to the House floor, as does the Medicaid bill.

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.