Governor Steve Beshear says if lawmakers can’t reach agreement on how to close a huge deficit in this year’s Medicaid budget, he will have to cut reimbursement rates to Medicaid providers by 35% on April 1st. Steve Shannon of the Kentucky Association of Regional Mental Health Centers says if that happens, layoffs and furloughs will ensue. And right now, the centers are serving 172,000 Kentuckians with mental disabilities.
n the meantime, House Democratic and Republican leaders are meeting behind closed doors trying to craft a bill they hope will be satisfactory to Senate Republicans. None of the proposals being tossed around include cuts to education.
House Speaker Greg Stumbo says behind the scenes talks with House Minority Leader Jeffrey Hoover are going well, but he’s not yet ready to reveal what’s being discussed.
“They get in there in the Senate and dilly-dally around—the House did their work—and three days before the end of the session, they come out with this preposterous proposal to balance Medicaid on the backs of schoolchildren. That’s not going to fly,” Beshear said during his final stop in Louisville.
Stumbo says the House Appropriations and Revenue committee wants to hear how budget cuts recommended by Senate Republicans will affect state agencies. “And that’s why we likely will not get through this week,” he says. “There’s been no testimony at all about what impact that will have on other agencies that have already been severely reduced over a billion dollars in spending to our state government’s functions.”
Majority Leader Rocky Adkins says the House still favors the governor’s Medicaid budget plan. Senate President David Williams says his chamber still prefers across-the-board cuts to state agencies.
Governor Beshear is flying around the state, trying to drum up support for his plan to balance Medicaid within the Medicaid budget. The Republican-controlled Senate wants across-the-board cuts to state agencies. Senate President David Williams says the governor should return home and debate him on Kentucky Educational Televsion.
For the second time in ten months, Kentucky lawmakers are returning to Frankfort for a special session. After they failed to balance the Medicaid budget in this year’s 30-day regular session, Governor Beshear ordered them back for a special session. The House favors the governor’s plan to shift second-year Medicaid funding forward. The Senate prefers budget cuts. Beshear hopes for middle ground.
Last year, Kentucky lawmakers had 60 days to pass a state budget. They failed, and spent six days in special session completing their work. This year, lawmakers had 30 days to tweak the budget, and again they failed. So on Monday, they will gather in Frankfort for a special session that will cost taxpayers roughly $60,000 a day, with no specific termination date.
The verbal jousting between Williams and Beshear is likely a preview of this year’s governor’s race. Beshear is seeking a second term and Williams wants his job.