Just The Facts Please – The Truth About Prenatal Care

Nearly another whole week has gone by for over 1,500 women and children cut off from prenatal care.  Thankfully, there were a few bright spots this week in the effort to pass LB 1110.  The Omaha World Herald came out with a very strong editorial in support of LB 1110. Other press stories made clear that the majority if calls and emails that Senators have been receiving are in support of LB 1110.  So, keep up the good work!  Your voice truly makes a difference.

But, misperceptions and specious arguments persist.  So, let’s regroup and look at the actual facts:

  1. Providing prenatal care is good for taxpayers.  Providing prenatal care to the unborn child through the Children’s Health Insurance Program (or Kids Connection in Nebraska) rather than Medicaid will save taxpayers close to $5 million.  Further, providing prenatal care will help prevent premature babies, low birth weight babies, and other complications that have lasting consequences for that child and are more expensive to treat.  Once these children are born they will be eligible for Kids Connection and if they are born with complications that will make it more expensive for the state to treat them after they are born.
  2. Providing prenatal care is good for babies.  There is vast evidence that providing prenatal care helps reduce the risks of illness and complications for unborn children.
  3. Providing prenatal care does not drive immigration.   Immigrants do not choose where to settle based on the generosity of a state’s public benefits programs. Between 1995 and 2000, the number of immigrant families with children grew four times faster in states with the least generous “safety nets” for immigrants than it did in states with more generous safety nets.  Moreover, Nebraska has been providing prenatal care to unborn children regardless of the mother’s immigration status for decades.  If this policy was going to drive migration we would have evidence of that.  But we don’t because there is no evidence.  What research does support is that people decide to come to the U.S. to find employment.

Nebraska has long been a leader on this issue.  We decided decades ago that providing prenatal care made sense.  We were right then and we are still right today.  It is shameful that some are letting politics create a swirl of false and unnecessary confusion around the issue.

The  facts and our Nebraska values support LB 1110.  We should be proud that we prioritize the health of mothers and babies in this state.

It is good health policy.  It is fiscally responsible.  It is the right thing to do.

Period.

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