Fight over Medicaid budget continues in Frankfort

Time is short for lawmakers to find a fix to millions missing in Medicaid money. Tuesday’s talk centered on health care providers fearing the worst.
Not plugging a $166 million hole means that doctors, hospitals, nursing homes and even pharmacists are preparing to receive less money.
“They would lose $80 every time they fill a 30 day supply of Plavix,” said Cathy Hanna of the American Pharmacy Services Corporation. She was among the health officials who testified Tuesday morning before the House Appropriations and Revenue Committee. That committee is considering the same bill they approved that shifts money from next year’s Medicaid budget to this year. The Senate doesn’t approve of it and instead wants across the board government cuts, including education.
If nothing is done, nursing homes probably wouldn’t close, but staff could face consequences.
“I can tell you it would have such a significant impact on our facility that we would be choosing between the mortgage and making payroll,” said Terry Skaggs of Wells Health Systems and operates a number of Kentucky nursing homes.
Governor Steve Beshear says providers are facing a 30% cut April first. That could be met with layoffs and some fear some rural hospitals could close. Patients could struggle to find services.
“They’ll have to go to the ER, or potentially wait and see another doctor to get that care,” said Marty White of the Kentucky Medical Association.
All could be averted if lawmakers find common ground. House Speaker Greg Stumbo says a compromise is being worked on.
“I’m confident we can find something that will be acceptable in a bi-partisan way to House Democrats and House Republicans,” said Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg.
Part of that plan would be what Stumbo calls targeted reductions in government spending, but not across the board cuts as now proposed by the Senate.

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