Kentucky Second District Congressman Brett Guthrie (R) questioned several governors about U.S. State's Medicaid shortfalls on Tuesday before the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Guthrie spoke of his experience as a state legislator and of his concerns that other critical areas of the state budget face cuts to cover Medicaid.
In Kentucky, Governor Steve Beshear (D) is proposing taking an advance on next year's Medicaid dollars to cover a $165 million shortfall. The Congressional hearing focused shortfalls created by the national health care law’s mandates.
“I appreciate the time the governors took to appear before the committee to talk about such an important issue and give us further insight into the issues they are facing. I have met with legislators and Medicaid officials in Kentucky, and know this is a topic they are also very concerned about.
“The health care bill that passed last year spent over a trillion dollars and imposed sweeping new mandates on patients, providers and states, not only burdening American families, but also already-struggling state governments.
“Recent estimates show the health care law will saddle Kentucky alone with a $695 million unfunded mandate from 2014-2019. That means next year, when my friends and former colleagues in Frankfort sit down to write the 2014 budget, they will have to factor this in.
“And as Governor Barbour and Governor Herbert reiterated today, this leaves states with only two options - raise taxes or cut benefits and services. Sadly, this could likely result in the allocation of fewer resources for public education, infrastructure projects, and other worthwhile state efforts.
“We heard from the governors today, it is not just Kentucky that shares this concern. States all across the nation are facing already-difficult budget situations and will soon be strapped with higher Medicaid costs as a result of the health care law.”