Beshear defends plan to balance Medicaid budget

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear is defending his plan for balancing the Medicaid budget without making additional cuts to state agencies.

Beshear said in a Capitol press conference Friday that his administration can save $425 million next year by privatizing some Medicaid services. He said that would be enough to balance the budget of the program that provides medical care to more than 800,000 poor, disabled and elderly Kentuckians.

Beshear touted his plan as House and Senate leaders prepared to begin negotiations on two competing proposals to balance the Medicaid budget.

The Democratic-controlled House supports Beshear's plan. The Republican-controlled Senate favors a proposal for 2.26% cuts to all government programs, including the state's public schools.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.