Nebraska restores prenatal Medicaid for undocumented immigrants
United States, 13th April: Nebraska lawmakers have approved prenatal care bill for undocumented immigrants.
The bill will provide prenatal care to undocumented immigrants.
Prenatal care bill approved for undocumented immigrants—Approval of the bill named LB 599 is a great step for providing Medicaid-funded prenatal care for undocumented immigrants. The bill had been eliminated almost two years ago. The bill was passed by senators who voted 31-15 for restoration of the program.
Nebraska Governor Dave Heineman, meanwhile, said he would veto the bill.
Prenatal coverage through children’s health insurance—The bill will provide prenatal health coverage through the children’s health insurance system of Nebraska named ‘Kids Connection’.
The program will cost $1.9 million and $650,000 respectively to federal and state funds. Average cost of tax-funded care is roughly between $1,500 and $2,000 for each mother. Meanwhile, the bill supporters argued that $650,000 is less than medical bill of $800,000 for one child.
And they also said every child must be healthy, irrespective of his immigration status. The program of offering prenatal care for expectant mothers was eliminated in 2010.
It affected around 1,600 women falling under low-income category. Nearly fifty percent of such women were undocumented immigrants. And others who failed to get prenatal care benefits were those who failed the eligibility criteria.
Nebraska had argued that woman’s eligibility should be the criteria for Medicaid care under federal rules. The state, on the other hand, was offering Medicaid care on the eligibility criteria of the unborn baby.
However, the medical coverage was restored for legal Nebraska residents and others not qualifying for Medicaid.
Nebraska might become a magnet for undocumented immigrants--Since the beginning, Heineman had been opposing the bill. He said such a law will provide a huge financial break to undocumented immigrants as compared to middle-class taxpayers in Nebraska.
So, Governor said he will see whether to sign the bill or not. He fears that by providing the prenatal care to undocumented immigrants, the state might attract a large number of undocumented immigrants since such a coverage is not provided by other bordering state. Nonetheless, the bill has won votes that will be sufficient to override a veto by Gov. Heineman.