Fight brews over attempt to balance Medicaid budget

The program that helps 800,000 Kentuckians with their health care needs is short of money and now the showdown is on between the Governor and quite possibly the Senate over how to resolve that problem.

“We are not going to allow Senator (David) Williams to balance the Medicaid budget on the backs of our school children,” said Gov. Beshear during a news conference .

Beshear says the Senate’s plan to shore up a Medicaid shortfall by cutting state government more than 2 percent including the formula that funds schools is the wrong move.

“Every teacher, parent, peace officer, every business owner ought to be outraged,” said Beshear, who was flanked by House Democrats during the quickly called event in the capitol.

Beshear’s plan that already passed the House takes $166 million from next year’s budget then calls for privatizing some services to make up the shortfall then. Williams says he is troubled by some of the budgetary moves Beshear has made.

“He was supposed to only restructure $70 million. He’s restructured $140 million. And that’s going to cause a $70 million non- recurring problem in the second year, “ said Sen. Williams, R-Burkesville, during his own news conference outside Senate chambers.

Williams claims Beshear’s money shifting plan lacks credibility.
“There’s no way that they can pay for the Medicaid services next year or make the savings to provide those services,” said Williams.
What makes this interesting is that the Senate plan, which has a Republican majority, may not have the support of the House Republican Caucus.

Republican leader Jeff Hoover said in a statement that cutting education is a step in the wrong direction. President Williams says he doesn’t think Hoover fully understands the situation and states that Hoover’s comments may not reflect the thoughts of other Republicans.


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