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Neb. Committee Votes To Continue Funding Prenatal Care for Undocumented Immigrants

Neb. Committee Votes To Continue Funding Prenatal Care for Undocumented Immigrants

April 1, 2013 — The Nebraska Legislature's Health and Human Services Committee last week rejected a bill (LB 518) that would have ended public funding of prenatal care for pregnant undocumented immigrants, the Omaha World-Herald reports.

Committee members rejected the measure in a 6-0 vote, with one lawmaker abstaining. The committee members said it makes sense morally and fiscally to provide prenatal care to women whose children will be U.S. citizens (Stoddard, Omaha World-Herald, 3/28).

Background

In 2010, Nebraska was ordered by the federal government to end Medicaid coverage of prenatal care for low-income women. A new law shifted the coverage to the state's Children's Health Insurance Program, which covers the women's fetuses directly, rather than the women themselves.

The law was enacted when state lawmakers overrode a veto by Gov. Dave Heineman (R). The measure applies to low-income women, including about 1,100 undocumented immigrants who meet low-income guidelines and can demonstrate that they live in the state (Women's Health Policy Report, 1/29).

Heineman included a repeal of the funding in this year's budget recommendations, but he did not introduce the legislation (Omaha World-Herald, 3/28).