Medicaid Bill Action Still Pending

by Tony McVeigh on March 18, 2011

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.

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