Senate Passes Medicaid Budget Bill

The Kentucky Senate has approved its plan for balancing the state’s Medicaid budget.

The Senate vote was 22-15, along party lines, with Republicans voting Aye and Democrats voting Nay. On Monday, the House voted 94-4 for a different version of the bill, but there are some similarities. So now, House and Senate negotiators will try to reach a compromise. House Speaker Greg Stumbo says cuts to education in the Senate plan are a deal breaker.

“It’s unacceptable. We met with Representative Hoover and the Republican leadership and we all went through the bill and everyone agrees. It’s just the same old rhetoric,” he says.

But Senate President David Williams says, wait, let’s talk.

“I think that both sides continue to move, and we feel like we came a long way,” he says.

Looming over the heads of negotiators is the date April 1st. That’s when Gov. Steve Beshear says he will have to cut Medicaid provider reimbursement rates by 35 percent if lawmakers fail to reach an agreement.

Published 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.