A controversial bill to cut what the state pays doctors and hospitals to treat the poor and disabled won a key approval today from the House of Representatives by a 67 to 45 vote.
After a third, normally perfunctory approval the bill soon will head to Gov. Nikki Haley's desk for her signature.
Haley has said she wants the rates cut as part of the state's effort to balance its budget.
The bill, which would enact a 3 percent across-the-board cut for doctors when they see Medicaid patients, would allow the state's deficit-running Medicaid agency, the Department of Health and Human Services, to save about $70,000 a day between its implementation and June 30.
Starting July 1, House members already have given the state's health agency permission to make unspecified cuts in state payments to hospitals and doctors, part of an effort to save another $125 million.