Senate Passes Medicaid Budget Bill

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.

Medicaid Bill Action Still Pending

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.

Hearings on Kentucky Medicaid Budget Begin

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.

Beshear Calls Special Session

Only two items will be on the agenda: “The first is reopening the budget to balance Medicaid, and to fulfill maintenance of effort requirements under the 2010 Education, Jobs and Medicaid Assistance Act, which will require a minor shift of higher education funds. The second agenda item is enacting legislation to increase the drop out age at our schools,” Beshear said.

Talks on Medicaid Budget Continue in Frankfort

Governor Beshear and the Democratic-controlled House want to shift second year funds to the current year, to fill a huge hole in the Medicaid budget. Any second year deficits would be covered by savings from managed care. The Republican-controlled Senate prefers small, across-the-board cuts to state agencies, including education. Only three days remain in the 30-day session.

In Frankfort, Talk of Special Session Begins

Senate President David Williams says he’s willing to negotiate with the House on Medicaid, but if the talks don’t go anywhere, lawmakers may as well adjourn and go home. Then, if an agreement is reached later, it could be approved in a special session. Balancing the Medicaid budget remains the last major issue still be resolved in the 2011 session, which is down to its last three days.

Health Secretary Says Managed Care Will Keep Medicaid Budget Balanced

Governor Beshear wants to shift second-year funds forward to balance the Medicaid budget, and make up any second year deficits with savings from managed care. The Democratically-controlled House agrees with his plan, but the Republican-controlled Senate wants across-the-board cuts to state agencies, including education. House Republicans oppose cuts to education. The debate is dominating the waning days of the legislative session.