S.D. Lawmakers, Gov. Close To Agreement on Expanding Prenatal Care

March 5, 2013 — The South Dakota Senate Health Committee on Monday rejected a bill (HB 1214) that would have provided prenatal care to undocumented immigrants, but lawmakers and Gov. Dennis Daugaard (R) are working on a deal to attach the measure to the state budget, which lawmakers expect to pass this week, the AP/Atlanta-Journal Constitution reports. The plan would alter state law so that undocumented immigrants who are pregnant qualify for state-funded prenatal care. About 184 women annually would gain care.

Additionally, the committee approved a bill that would increase the income eligibility limit from 133% of the poverty level to 140% of the poverty level for pregnant women who are citizens to qualify for state-funded prenatal care. The change would extend the care to about 139 additional pregnant women.

Supporters of the move to extend the coverage to undocumented women said it would ensure that more infants are born healthy and save money in the long term by reducing health problems in children after they are born. Opponents of the effort contend that it would encourage illegal immigration (Brokaw, AP/Atlanta-Journal Constitution, 3/4).