Despite unanswered questions about the impact of federal health care reforms, Kentucky's lawmakers are taking steps to pass a state budget. House members have begun the process of evaluating and modifying the spending plan proposed by Gov. Steve Beshear.
Long-time Elizabethtown Representative Jimmy Lee chairs the human services subcommittee. He says legislators will probably look to the Affordable Care Act to produce some savings. “It’s gonna be one that we count on the A. C. A. helping us and that’s kind of taking the crystal ball and saying yes I believe the A. C. A. will produce these kind of savings for us and you book those numbers. Now, whether or not it does, that’s another thing,” said Lee.
Lee worries about under-served areas in the budget like guardianship and protection programs in the Department of Community Based Services. “This is a really difficult budget to balance because we have so many needs. There’s just not any dollars in that budget available that’s readily seen as you go through the numbers. It’s been the governor pretty efficient on the allocating and using what available dollars was there. He didn’t leave us much to work with,” added Lee.
Lee says he will be meeting with overall budget chair Representative Rick Rand to determine how all pieces of the two-year plan can fit together. A House vote on the state budget is likely still a couple of weeks away.