- Associated Press - Thursday, March 31, 2011

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — The South Carolina House is debating a bill allowing the state’s Medicaid agency to reduce payments to doctors, dentists and other medical providers who treat the state’s poor and disabled.

The Department of Health and Human Services announced a month ago that most Medicaid providers would see a 3 percent cut in their payments starting Monday.

That likely won’t happen. Implementation depended on final passage of a bill allowing it. The Senate has approved the bill, but it needs two votes in the House.

The agency says the cuts would shave $7.5 million from its projected shortfall.

House Democrats are arguing the cuts would lead to job losses at rural hospitals and require rural residents to travel farther to see a doctor.