State lawmakers heard public testimony Thursday on a bill that would extend Nebraska Medicaid benefits to pregnant illegal immigrants. Dr. Karen Gray from Creighton University says prenatal care makes a dramatic difference for the baby.
“The lack of prenatal care increases the risk of five to seven fold, the normal risk of a mother having a prenatal baby is about 10 to 12 %, without prenatal care the risk can be as high as 50%”
HHS CEO Kerry Winterer opposes the bill, saying only 15 states have coverage similar to what is proposed.
“The other 35 states do not provide coverage based on the unborn population, none of the states surrounding Nebraska….provide CHIP coverage to illegal immigrants.”
The Governor is also against the bill. The bill is in response to federal notification that Nebraska is breaking federal law by allowing pre-natal Medicaid coverage based on the citizenship of the unborn baby rather than the mother.