‘Crazy’ session of legislature ends
By Ted Edmonds, State Representative
This is my ninth year as your state representative, and I honestly don’t think I’ve seen a legislative session as crazy as the one we just finished. The House passed the Senate version of the Medicaid budget bill to make sure that there was a budget. None of us liked the Senate version, because it enacted cuts to all areas of state government, including our elementary and secondary schools.
The problem was that we knew the Senate wasn’t in a mood to compromise. If House and Senate leaders just sat across a table staring at each other, there would be no budget fix. That would mean cuts to Medicaid reimbursements, leading many clinics and pharmacies to stop taking Medicaid patients and in some cases, to close up shop altogether. Many of our local medical facilities depend on Medicaid dollars. If we lost them, it would literally be the death of some folks in my district, so I couldn’t take that chance.
Fortunately, we had an ace in the hole. By passing the bill and then adjourning, just as we have in every special session as far as anyone can remember, we left the final version of the bill to the governor. He’d already promised us he would veto out the education cuts. That was the one area that both Republicans and Democrats in the House agreed on.
So, in essence, we voted for education cuts, knowing they would never happen. If that doesn’t make sense to you, well, join the crowd. What does make sense is that we now have a Medicaid budget, our hospitals, doctor’s offices, and pharmacies will stay open, and Medicaid patients can still get the medical care they need. At the same time, we won’t be cutting one dime from our schools.
And in the end, that’s what matters to the people of Kentucky, not political bickering or parliamentary procedure or the other inside baseball that people in Frankfort like to talk about.
Now that we’ve finally finished up our work in Frankfort — I hope and pray — I’m back home. Still, you can always contact me with your concerns.
Call the toll-free Legislative Message Line at 800-372-7181, or call me directly at502-564-8100, ext. 818.