House approves $125 million in Medicaid cuts to providers

The SC House of Representatives approved the $5.4 billion FY 2011 - 2012 State Appropriations Bill by a vote of 77 to 42. The Medicaid budget was adopted as approved by the Ways and Means Committee, including the $125 million cut to providers. An overview of H.3700 is available.

Throughout the House debate, compelling arguments against that level of cuts were made regarding access to care, the economic impact of the Medicaid program, and the viability of rural hospitals. House Democrats offered several amendments to limit the impact of the proposed Medicaid cuts on rural providers, but all were tabled. An amendment to increase provider taxes also failed. Hospitals should expect a rate cut of 10-11 percent July 1, 2011, which includes the 3 percent rate cut being implemented in early April.
The budget will now go to the Senate for deliberations. Senate Finance subcommittees have already been receiving budget requests from state agencies. Once the Senate approves its version of the budget bill, the bill will go to a conference committee to iron out a compromise. The bill will then go to Governor Haley who has the option of vetoing individual line items in the bill.
The Senate is expected to begin debate of the budget the week of April 26.
DHHS Director Tony Keck does not intend to accomplish all of the provider line savings through rate cuts. His intent is to meet with provider groups and explore opportunities to reduce unnecessary spending for this year and next. SCHA has organized a representative group of hospitals and will work with the agency to implement important cost-savings and quality improvement measures.

03-22-2011 12:00 (EDT)