Reporting on next week’s scheduled special session, Kentucky Public Radio’s Tony McVeigh reports: “Gov. Behear unveiled his plan for filling a gaping hole in the state’s Medicaid budget, created when Kentucky received fewer federal stimulus dollars than anticipated.”
That’s true. But that doesn’t give this administration carte blanche to refuse spending cuts as an option for filling the Medicaid budget gap that ensued as a result of stimulus funding.
After all, stimulus funding is, theoretically anyhow, one-time funding. So, even if Kentucky would have gotten that funding, what was the plan for balancing Medicaid’s budget next year?
Oh, by the way, McVeigh failed to report that Beshear failed to fulfill his commitment to cut $125 million during the current fiscal year. The governor fell $39 million short. That money must be made up. The bills must be paid.
To try and score political points via fearmongering, Beshear threatens to make cuts to those providing Medicaid services. It’s obvious Beshear knows there’s an election coming up — he would rather cut nearly $250 million worth of Medicaid hospital reimbursement than agree to some fairly painless cuts that might cost him some votes with the teachers unions or some other special interest group.
So House leaders say give the governor a chance to find the savings needed to make up the difference. But if Beshear couldn’t even cut $125 million this year, how can we be confident that his promised $425 million in efficiencies during the two-year budget period will materialize?
It’s time for spending cuts now … even if it is an Election Year.