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Kentucky legislators may hold off on a plan to expand a managed care Medicaid program now operating in Louisville and Lexington. Sponsors say the delay would provide time to make sure the not-for-profit partnerships that will operate the program are ready.
Gov. Paul Patton opposes the delay, saying it would lead to higher Medicaid spending that in turn would force cuts in other areas of the state budget. According to projections from the governor's office, the state would lose $70 million in savings per biennium (Kentucky operates on a two-year budget cycle) starting in fiscal 2001 if the conversion is put off. Those advocating that the state move more slowly counter that the shortfall would only be about $20 million.
The governor says a delay could hurt efforts to overhaul the state's $2.8 billion Medicaid program. Physicians and other providers in the two cities may balk at the managed care program's reduced payment rates if their counterparts in the rest of the state aren't subject to them.