COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — A bill that would remove the need for South Carolina hospitals to seek state permission to build new facilities, make expansions or buy expensive equipment is dead for this year’s legislative session.

The House Ways and Means Committee decided not to send the bill eliminating the certificate of need program to the House floor on Thursday, saying they couldn’t get each side of the issue to come together and compromise.

“In some cases, no bill is better than a bad bill,” said Republican Rep. Gary Simrill.

Supporters of the bill have been arguing for years the program goes against the free market, requiring hospitals and health care companies to get permission from the state Department of Health and Environmental Control to build or expand hospitals or to buy expensive equipment like MRI machines.

Opponents said the program in place protects health care in rural areas and can prevent hospitals from overspending because of competition.

The Senate approved the bill 35-6 in January. House leaders said there weren’t the votes to pass it this year, but vowed to keep working on the issue when the new General Assembly session starts next January.