The Chatter: McGaha/Williams district merger; Doc who blasted managed care indicted; and more

12/23/2011 11:40 AM

Blowing up retiring Republican state Sen. Vernie McGaha’s 15th District during the redrawing of legislative lines could make for some interesting politics among Republicans over the next three years.

Rumblings have picked up that a new district could combine Russell and Pulaski counties from McGaha’s 15th District with Cumberland, Clinton and Wayne counties from Senate President David Williams’ neighboring 16th District.

If becomes the case after the Senate map is redrawn in redistricting next month, all eyes will be on Williams’ plans.

But already, some Republicans in that area are expressing interest — or at least entertaining the notion — of potentially running if Williams decides not to seek another term.

Hilda Legg, a Somerset Republican who narrowly lost the GOP nomination for secretary of state in 2011, told Pure Politics on Friday that she would have been very interested in running in McGaha’s 15th District, which includes Casey and Adair counties in addition to Russell and Pulaski.

“But the General Assembly needs to draw the lines for what is best for the commonwealth of Kentucky. And I think having more Republicans to push conservative values is most important,” she said.

Legg said she has heard the Cumberland-Clinton-Wayne-Russell-Pulaski configuration. And if that’s the case and Williams runs in that district, she would not be a candidate.

“I certainly would not challenge David if David is moved into this district,” she said.

The Commonwealth Journal in Somerset quoted Chris Girdler, district director for Republican Congressman Hal Rogers, as saying he was honored to be mentioned as a potential successor to McGaha and has an interest in public service.

Doctor who testified against managed care charged with Medicaid fraud

A Hopkins County child psychiatrist was charged with 14 counts of Medicaid fraud after a state investigation into his billing practices, Attorney General Jack Conway announced Thursday.

But as WTVQ Channel 36’s Greg Stotelmyer reported,
Suess had just testified last week along with other medical professionals and activists about shortcomings in the new managed care arrangements the state has engaged in.

Suess, whose name is pronounced “cease,” has served as president of the Kentucky Osteopathic Medical Association, and testified before the state’s Advisory Council on Medical Assistance.

Suess said he was concerned that the new managed care organizations the state contracted with to cover health care needs of the poor and disabled.

Specifically, he accused the three managed care companies of falling short in their ability to provide care and medication for mentally ill children.

UNITE’s conference at Disney World questioned

Taxpayer watchdogs have questioned the use of grant money the anti-drug UNITE group plans to use for a conference at Disney World next year, the Courier-Journal’s Joe Gerth reported Saturday.

UNITE officials defended the move saying that Florida was the ideal venue because many of the illegal pain pills that reach Kentucky and other places start in the Sunshine state.

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