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Kentucky house leaders hope for Medicaid agreement by next week

by Joe Arnold


Posted on March 18, 2011 at 7:53 AM

Updated Friday, Mar 18 at 9:27 AM

(WHAS11) -- With Kentucky's Governor and the Senate President at loggerheads over how to plug a $140 million Medicaid shortfall, Kentucky's House leaders say they are hopeful to vote on a compromise next week.

House Speaker Greg Stumbo (D-Prestonsburg) said the Democrats' latest proposal is "something you've never seen before," while the latest plan offered by the Republican Senate is a rehash of what was already on the table.

"If it's already been rejected once, it's likely it's going to be rejected again," Stumbo said, "So, we're trying to formulate a policy that accomplishes much of what everybody wants, nobody's going to get everything they want in this process.  And, allows the governor the flexibility that we believe he needs and spares education."

House representatives and staff are meeting four to five times per day to hammer out a compromise.  The Republican Senate leadership sent a letter to the Democratic House leadership probing the schedule of the House budget plan, and reiterating that the session was called by Governor Steve Beshear (D) before a consensus was reached.

The politics of the budget battle have been exacerbated by Beshear's barnstorming trip across Kentucky to shame Senate Republicans, particularly President David Williams (R-Burkesville).  Williams, meanwhile, challenged Beshear to a statewide television debate in a possible preview of the fall governor's race. 

"So, hopefully we're coming to an end of they're tired of doing that," said GOP Floor Leader Jeff Hoover (R-Jamestown), "and we can sit down and try to reach an agreement," "What we're trying to do on the house side is give them a pretty good framework upon which to build upon to reach a solution."