Talks on Medicaid Budget Continue in Frankfort

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.

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.