Medicaid Budget Talks Continue in Frankfort

House and Senate negotiations on Kentucky’s Medicaid budget appear to be moving forward at the State Capitol.

The first hour of the negotiations was spent comparing the House and Senate plans for balancing the Medicaid budget. The House adopted the governor’s proposal, but Senate President David Williams is skeptical of the amount of money the governor can save through managed care.

“Do you really believe they can reduce Medicaid expenditures by $800 million, starting from ground zero today, by the end of next fiscal year? I think that would be very difficult to do,” he says.

House Speaker Greg Stumbo is encouraged with how the talks are going so far, but the biggest question being raised is whether Governor  Beshear can realize the savings he claims through managed care.

“If you believe the Senate’s position that he can’t do it, then you have to say, can he do any of it, or can he do part of it?” he says. “And if so, what part can he do and what number is a reasonable target? And it becomes a more manageable problem.”

Senate budget chairman Bob Leeper is also optimistic, but more discussion is needed. With only two days left in the session, the conferees will have to scramble to find common ground.

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.