Beshear Applauds Passage of Medicaid Bill

Promising to use his line-item veto power, Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear praised lawmakers in the House for agreeing with a Senate plan to fix the state’s Medicaid budget.

On Thursday, the House approved a compromise to cut $101 million from other parts of state government in order to fill a shortfall in the healthcare system.

From the governor’s office:

An overwhelming bipartisan majority of the House of Representatives has taken courageous action, bringing an end to this costly session These legislators and the Senate Democrats have repeatedly stood by me to protect education and many other groups such as state troopers, veterans, and social workers from unnecessary cuts; and to prevent devastating cuts to health care providers that would certainly result in job losses across the state, particularly in rural areas.

Once the bill has reached my desk, I will begin scrutinizing it and will take appropriate action to reflect the priorities I share with the vast majority of legislators.

In an earlier vote, the Senate slashed the current budget by .35 percent and 1.74 percent in the next fiscal year, including cuts to education. Immediately, House Speaker Greg Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg, called the Senate version “unacceptable” before negotiations began.

It appeared the special session was headed for another impasse, but Beshear assured Democrats that he would veto portions of the measure if it passed. Legislators cannot override a gubernatorial veto once the House adjourns the special session.

The bill won’t reach the governor’s desk, however, until Senate President David Williams, R-Burkesville, who is running for governor, signs the legislation. Political observers are unsure if Williams will do so given that Beshear has made his line-item veto intentions clear.