COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - The House budget-writing committee has advanced a spending plan that includes $75 million for Medicaid initiatives designed to improve residents' health.
House Republicans have repeatedly refused Democrats' efforts to expand Medicaid eligibility under the federal health care reform act. The budget proposal that advanced Thursday to the House floor contains what Ways and Means Chairman Brian White calls an overhaul of the program.
White contends the state needs to focus on making people healthier, at a reduced cost, not adding people to an already-bloated system.
Democratic Rep. Harry Ott says he agrees with the efficiency effort, but says it's no alternative to providing insurance to hundreds of thousands of additional South Carolinians.
The plan includes reimbursing rural hospitals 100 percent of their costs for treating patients without health care.