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Bill filed to help DHHS make cuts

Jan 26, 2011 2:37:00 PM - thestate.com
A state Senator has filed a bill giving a state health care agency more flexibility to cut its budget and close a $228 million budget deficit.

Senate Majority Leader Harvey Peeler, R-Cherokee, filed a bill suspending budget rules that restrict cuts the Department of Health and Human Services may approve. Peeler's bill would allow the agency to reduce payments to doctors and hospitals; require use of generic cancer, HIV/AIDS and mental health drugs; reduce chiropractic treatment and reduce fees to dispense prescriptions.

The changes would save at least $11.5 million. DHHS has long asked lawmakers for the ability to cut rates to doctors and hospitals, but had been the only state health care agency forbidden from doing so.

The change would apply to the current budget as lawmakers are considering ways to close a $829 million budget shortfall for the year beginning July 1.

- John O'Connor