Debate over the state House version of Gov. Steve Beshear’s budget veered frequently onto the topic of the Affordable Care Act Thursday evening.
House Democrats blocked GOP efforts to dismantle the state’s health insurance exchange and reduce Kentucky’s Medicaid rolls. Republican minority floor leader Jeff Hoover chastised the House for refusing to debate the health care law, which he said contributes to the debt.
“On something so important to this state and to every single individual in this state, and we don’t want to have a discussion about it,” Hoover said.
House members frequently referenced an Associated Press story quoting Republican leaders as saying they intended to use a vote on a health care-related amendment to force Democrats to register their approval of President Obama’s signature legislation.
“You know it’s true because it’s occurring on the floor right now,” Democratic Rep. Rick Rand told the chamber. “Let’s talk about the budget. Let’s talk about moving this state forward.”
Both sides repeatedly accused the other of engaging in “Washington-style politics.”
The $20 billion biennial budget passed by a vote of 53 to 46 following more than three hours of debate.