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.

Senate Medicaid Plan Clears Committee

Senate Republicans still want across-the-board cuts to state agencies, including education, to balance Medicaid. But most of the education cuts wouldn’t come until January 31, 2012. And if Governor Beshear attains 82 percent of his projected savings from Medicaid managed care before then, the legislature could rescind the cuts.

In Depth: The Special Session’s First Days

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.