HELENA, Mont. (AP) — A legislative committee is blocking the state health department from reducing Medicaid provider reimbursement rates as a way to cut $3 million from its budget.

A law passed during the 2017 legislative session ordered budget cuts if state revenues came in lower than expected.

The Department of Public Health and Human Services proposed a 2.99 percent reduction in rates paid to health care providers treating Medicaid patients. Providers argued the reimbursement rate is already too low and further cuts would cause some to stop accepting Medicaid patients.

Lee Newspapers of Montana reports the Children, Families, Health and Human Services Committee voted 7-1 Wednesday to object to the cuts, which prevents them from taking place until January 2019.

Agency director Sheila Hogan says the department now must maintain Medicaid provider rates without the money to pay for it.