An interim legislative committee has dropped its objection to the state health department’s plan to cut Medicaid reimbursement rates for health care providers, beginning on Jan. 1.

The Great Falls Tribune reports a majority of the members of the Children, Families, Health and Human Services Interim Committee said the Department of Public Health and Human Services offered an adequate explanation for the 2.99 percent rate cut. It would save the department about $3 million a year.

The cuts were triggered this summer, when state revenues came in lower than expected.

Those who depend on Medicaid services told lawmakers the cuts will harm elderly people, those with mental illnesses or disabilities and cause them to need costlier services.

Medicaid providers say the reimbursement rate is already too low and further cuts could mean fewer would accept Medicaid patients.

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Lawmakers drop objection to cuts in Medicaid reimbursement