Gov. Dave Heineman blasts the legislature, and Speaker Mike Flood in particular, for supporting a measure extending prenatal coverage to illegal immigrants.
The legislature has advanced LB 599, which would extend Medicaid coverage to prenatal care for the poor, including illegal immigrants. Supporters cast the measure as a pro-life issue. Opponents cast it as providing taxpayer-benefits to people in the country illegally.
The governor has come out strong against the measure. Heineman called a news conference in which he read a letter his staff hand-delivered to Speaker Flood’s office in the Capitol.
“I’m extraordinarily disappointed with your support of taxpayer-funded benefits for illegal aliens,” Heineman wrote.
Flood isn’t backing off in his support of the bill, telling reporters gathered in his office that taking care of that unborn baby makes sense.
“I’m of the opinion, let’s not pat ourselves on the back and say we stopped benefits to illegal aliens. You’re going to pay anyway as a taxpayer,” Flood says.
Flood points out that federal law requires emergency rooms to treat whoever enters and that taxpayers will pay even more if the baby is born with complications, because the mother didn’t have access to prenatal care.
The bill has passed two rounds of voting. It is in position to pass the legislature and be sent to the governor’s desk. Heineman vows to veto it.
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:40]
AUDIO: Speaker Mike Flood reacts to Gov. Heineman’s criticism [4 min.]