Medicaid Bill Action Still Pending

The first week of the special session on balancing Kentucky’s Medicaid budget is over. However, action on a Medicaid bill is still pending.

The House passed a bill this week raising the state’s drop out age, but the Medicaid bill still awaits a vote in the Appropriations and Revenue Committee. Three days of hearings have been held, but Speaker Greg Stumbo says the committee still wants to hear from Health and Family Services Secretary Janie Miller.

“We’ve asked her to be prepared to give us a pretty definite timetable about when they’ll know whether these cost saving measures truly are going to materialize and that those savings can be achieved.”

He’s referring to savings from Medicaid managed care anticipated by Gov. Beshear. Stumbo says the budget committee could vote on the Medicaid bill Monday or Tuesday, as the special session moves into a second week.

“I think that if we do come to some accord on some of the sticking points of this plan,” he says “that you will see a large majority of the members of the general assembly – both House and Senate members – who will believe that this is a fair and equitable plan.”

At least one more hearing will be held in the House Appropriations and Revenue Committee before a vote is taken on a Medicaid bill. Health and Family Services Secretary Janie Miller is scheduled to testify before the committee on Monday.

Kentucky Senate President David Williams is still grumbling about the pace of the special session. Williams says Gov. Beshear never should have called the session without some kind of an agreement.

“Then-candidate Beshear chastised Gov. Fletcher for calling the general assembly back in and wasting money before he reached a resolution to the problem,” syas Williams “and he’s turned around and done exactly the same thing.”

Gov. Beshear says he had no choice because lawmakers failed to fix Medicaid during the regular session, and if they can’t find a compromise, he will have to cut reimbursement rates to Medicaid providers by 35 percent on April 1st.

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.