Talks on Medicaid Budget Continue in Frankfort

Kentucky House and Senate negotiators appear to be on the cusp of an agreement for balancing the state’s Medicaid budget.

After the House proposed a way to close a $166 million gap in the Medicaid budget without across-the-board cuts to state agencies, the Senate made a counter-proposal.  It still includes across-the-board cuts, but they’re smaller, says Senate President David Williams.

“We feel like that the proposal that we’ve come forward with as a Senate is more than fair and more than halfway,” he says.

But the Senate plan still includes cuts to education, which doesn’t sit well with House Speaker Greg Stumbo.

“It may be that there’s a time that we’d have to reduce all – an across-the-board cut – but now is not the time,” he says.

The conferees will reconvene this morning and if a final agreement is reached, the House and Senate could vote on it this afternoon.  After that, the session would go into a ten day veto recess, with one day remaining for veto overrides.

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.