State-funded prenatal care bill debated

Proponents came out in big numbers to testify in favor of a bill that never made it to the legislative floor last session. The bill is sponsored by senator Kathy Campbell, and would allow prenatal care to low-income and illegal immigrant mothers. Proponents say prenatal care will save money and the lives of babies. On the other hand, opponents say it's costing too much tax payer dollars. “Simply put, our unborn babies deserve the opportunity to obtain the necessary prenatal care regardless of the status or wealth of their mother,” says supporter of the bill Shirley Mora James. Opponent Vivianne Chaumont says, “LB-599 is an expansion of coverage to illegal immigrants, at a time when we're making difficult decisions about the services we have available to citizens and reimbursement rates to providers.” Last year, a similar bill didn't pass because Governor Heineman expressed his opposition in providing prenatal benefits to illegal immigrants. If this measure passes, it will move out of committee and onto the floor, where senators will be able to debate the issue further.