Log In or Register
HomeLocal NewsState NewsSportsOpinionObituariesAgriculture
Quick Links
  Home
  My Bulletin
  Contact The Bulletin

Marketplace
  Display Ads
  Classifieds
  Dir. of Advertisers

Opinion

Social Security to resume mailing benefit statements

Warning: The Cat is frustrated at home

More opinion

Ag News

Climate change report kicks off 2014–15 Heuermann lectures

State Climatologist: Models predict above-normal precipitation this fall

More Ag News


Email Article | Print Article
News - State/Regional News
 
Witnesses want to restore prenatal care for illegal immigrantsTell North Platte what you think
 

A landslide of supporters spoke recent in support of restoring prenatal care to mothers who do not qualify for Medicaid, including undocumented immigrants.

NebraskaLand National BankYou've got a
facebook Request!
CLICK HERE!

“The baby doesn’t know what country he’s in or she’s in, but we do and we are good people,” said Omaha Sen. Gwen Howard, praising the bill’s introduction.

LB599, introduced by Lincoln Sen. Kathy Campbell, would reinstate prenatal care the state cut off in March 2010 after realizing that unborn children are ineligible for Medicaid. For decades Nebraska had provided coverage for those unborn children and their low-income mothers.

A similar bill, which Gov. Dave Heineman had threatened to veto, failed in the Legislature last year.

On Wednesday, after hearing 15 of 16 people testify in favor, Campbell said the Legislature’s Health and Humans Services Committee likely will hold the bill until next session while the committee looks for funding sources.

“The point is to be sustainable,” said Campbell, the committee chair. “We can’t find one-time money some place,” she said, adding that she would like to work with the Department of Health and Human Services to find those funds.

Additionally, the potential year-long hold on the bill would give health care providers more time to gather data and patient stories like those heard at Wednesday’s hearing.

For two hours, one person after another spoke in support of the bill, while one testified against it. Those in favor included religious leaders seeking a Christian approach to policy, pro-lifers defending the babies and health care providers who have seen how taking away prenatal care has affected pregnancies of low-income women.

Before testifying, the Rev. Howard Dotson of Omaha’s Westminster Presbyterian Church, asked for a moment of silence to remember babies he said were lost due to a lack of prenatal health care.

“We need to be pro-life from cradle to grave, to err on the side of compassion and stay grounded in family values,” he said.

Dr. Caron Gray, aCreighton professor and obstetrician-gynecologist, told of a pregnant, undocumented woman who lost her prenatal care and stopped seeing her doctor. Consequently, she said, the woman developed high blood pressure that threatened both her life and her baby’s.

“The baby is a U.S. citizen,” Gray said. “We are putting U.S. citizens at risk with not passing this bill.”

Justin Vossen, a March of Dimes board member, has a daughter in kindergarten who was born prematurely and spent two and a half years on oxygen. She also has had heart and eye surgery.

"The effects of not providing the prenatal care will end up costing potentially the state more in the long run,” Vossen said. And if they’re born too prematurely, he added, the cost can run in the millions.

But Vivianne Chaumont, representing the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services, had a different take.

Chaumont, the only testifier against the bill, said undocumented immigrants are ineligible for Medicaid funds, except in emergencies, such as labor and delivery.

“We shouldn’t be spending any money for people who are here illegally,” Chaumont said. “That’s our position.”


Also contributing to this report were Gabriel Medina, Courtney Pitts and Asha Anchan.


Like this story to send to your facebook

The North Platte Bulletin - Published 3/18/2011
Copyright © 2011 northplattebulletin.com - All rights reserved.
Flatrock Publishing, Inc. - 1300 E 4th St., Suite F - North Platte, NE 69101
 
Hide Talk Back
 
 
Login to post Talk Back
Close


Click on the cop Report Talk Back Abuse to report Talk Back abuse and misuse
 
 
 

Copyright © 2003 - 2014 northplattebulletin.com
All rights reserved.

Flatrock Publishing, Inc.
1300 E 4th St., Suite F
North Platte, NE 69101

 
Your Ip Address - 54.90.93.170
North Platte, Nebraska