Near-unanimous House passes Medicaid plan; Senate mum

By an overwhelming margin of 94-4, the state House today passed a bipartisan bill to fix the state Medicaid budget, again putting the ball in the court of the Republicans who control the Senate. They declined to comment.

The House again adopted Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear’s plan to transfer money from the second year of the budget amd make up the difference by instituting managed-care plans, but this time included what House Republican Leader Jeff Hoover called “triggered” cuts if Beshear falls short.

“Beshear would have to certify by Aug. 15 the amount he can save within Medicaid in the fiscal year that begins July 1,” Beth Musgrave and Jack Brammer report for the Lexington Herald-Leader. “The bill also would let Beshear use about $23 million in one-time money to offset any shortfall if there are no savings in the Medicaid budget. Anything short of the remaining $116 million needed to balance the Medicaid budget would trigger cuts in most other parts of state government.” The Courier-Journal‘s Tom Loftus and Deborah Yetter note, “Public schools, universities and a few other selected areas would be exempt.” (Read more)

In a video interview posted via Facebook, Hoover said the bill is “a lot better” than the one the House passed 80-19 in the regular session. But he called it only “a first step” toward finding an agreement with the Senate, and said he expected the matter to again reach a House-Senate conference committee. He said House Republicans “want to move above the fray of the politics of this. . . . I hope and think that the Senate now recognizes that we’re part of the process.” Senate President David Williams was personally critical of the House GOP leader after Hoover rebuffed Williams’ plan to make small cuts in basic school funding.

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