Hearings on Kentucky Medicaid Budget Begin

Kentucky lawmakers continue their search for middle ground  on balancing the state’s medicaid budget.

Hearings on the Medicaid budget have begun in the House Appropriations and Revenue Committee.  Some Medicaid providers, particularly rural hospitals and pharmacies, say 35 percent cuts in reimbursement rates would be devastating.  That’s the amount Gov. Beshear says he must cut on April 1st if lawmakers fail to reach agreement on a Medicaid fix.  Rep. Rick Rand chairs the budget committee.  

“We have some more people to talk about Medicaid and what would happen if we leave here without reaching a compromise,” says Rand “and from there, then we’ll talk to some of the agencies on how these proposed budget cuts will affect them.”

Senate Republicans want to balance Medicaid with across-the-board cuts to state agencies, including education.  Gov. Beshear says he can balance the program without cuts.  House Speaker Greg Stumbo says he and House Minority Leader Jeffrey Hoover are discussing a bipartisan compromise that would target areas, besides education, to cut in case deficits occurred under the governor’s plan.

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.