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.