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Mon March 31, 2014
ACA, Cancer Screenings, Mine Inspections and Rupp Arena in the Budget
Provisions to block state money from being used on Kentucky's implementation of the Affordable Care Act will remain in the budget agreement reached over the weekend by state lawmakers. Sparring between House Democrats and Senate Republicans over the ACA dominated negotiations.
The ACA covers the costs of implementation through 2017, after which the tab will be split with the state.
Now, Senate President Robert Stivers says lawmakers will send the governor a budget that blocks general funds from going toward the state's health insurance exchange, Kynect, and the expansion of Medicaid. Stivers acknowledges that much of the heated debate over the ACA was "political theater."
"I think everybody saw that we have worked hard over the last three or four days," Stivers said. "There's been a lot of discussions. At points in time there may have been a little bit of political theater involved but we've reached an agreement, compromising and understanding the realities of each person's positions and each region's positions and each party's positions."
Currently, over 320,000 people have been insured through Kynect, with two-thirds obtaining Medicaid coverage.
It also appears the compromise deal will include funds for cancer screenings. Those funds were cut by the Senate from a previous version of the $20 billion budget but Stivers says the new compromise will restore baseline funding for a number of preventative care options.
And, it appears the deal brokered by House and Senate leaders over the weekend will include funds for cancer screenings.
The funds were cut by the Senate from a previous version of the $20 billion budget. But Republican Senate President Robert Stivers says the new compromise will restore baseline funding for a number of preventative care options.
“There is education, there is outreach," Stivers said. "Certain thing s like that just to get the process going that needed to be restored to make sure people got the materials and understood the dynamics of the disease. So we can back and the screenings are involved in that.”
Stivers and House Speaker Greg Stumbo say both chambers will work to pass a final budget bill by early tomorrow morning.
The annual number of mine inspections in Kentucky will decrease from its current level of six down to four. Democratic House Speaker Greg Stumbo says he and Senate Republican leaders have agreed on language that will reduce the number of yearly mine inspections from its current level of six to four.
“Federal law currently requires four inspections," he said. "We indicated that we’ll mirror federal law from here on out, so if federal changes and requires more then we’ll do more.”
The Senate had previously reduced the number of annual inspections to two but the state Energy & Environment Cabinet said that would put miners' lives in danger.
And leaders of the budget compromise say it'll include funding for a proposed multi-million dollar renovation of the University of Kentucky's Rupp Arena. Lexington mayor Jim Gray asked lawmakers to use bonds to pay for $65 million of a $30 million renovation.
Legislative leaders have provided scant details of their final decision, but House Speaker Greg Stumbo says the state will provide a path forward should the project's financing plan pass muster.
Mayor Gray pitched his case to lawmakers during the marathon budget talks over the weekend, but was prohibited from offering any details of the project due to a verbal non-disclosure agreement he made with the university.