Senate President David Williams says he’s keeping an open mind as negotiations on the Medicaid budget resume this morning in Frankfort. Negotiators met briefly Friday evening and agreed they don’t see eye to eye, but Williams isn’t ruling out compromise.
“Hope springs eternal. The bottom line is, the governor’s proposal is without merit. Everyone in the legislature knows that you cannot approach this thing the way the governor is approaching it,” says Williams.
Senate Minority Leader R-J Palmer is optimistic some kind of agreement will be reached.
“You know, I think we’ve shown plenty of times in the past that the two chambers have been pretty far apart at the beginning of a conference committee and they’ve been able to come to a resolution,” he says. “I think that this possibility exists for this as well.”
Governor Beshear and the Democratic-controlled House want to shift second year funds to the current year, to fill a huge hole in the Medicaid budget. Any second year deficits would be covered by savings from managed care. The Republican-controlled Senate prefers small, across-the-board cuts to state agencies, including education. Only three days remain in the 30-day session.