State could save $125M by reducing doctor rates

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - South Carolina's Medicaid program could save $125 million under a proposal that lets the agency lower payments to doctors.

The House Ways and Means Committee on Tuesday approved giving the agency that authority. The director of the state Department of Health and Human Services will testify to a budget-writing panel on Wednesday on the savings.

South Carolina is the only state that bars its Medicaid agency from lowering doctor rates.

Democrats say they worry the reductions will result in fewer doctors accepting Medicaid patients.

The committee also approved requiring patients to get approval before doctors prescribe the more expensive version of drugs for certain illnesses. The agency expects that will save $990,000

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