Yesterday, I got to play chauffeur to five Nebraska state senators who included GSH in their list of stops on a literal fly-around the state in support of LB 599. They hopped a flight in Omaha Thursday morning, flew to Scottsbluff, then to Kearney, Grand Island and Lincoln making stops to rally support for the passage of LB 599. After Cheryl and I picked them up at the airport (no, we did not get to wear those cool chauffeur hats), they took a quick tour of our nursery and NICU, then met with some of our physicians, board members and directors particularly close to this issue. Dr. Ken Shaffer had an opportunity to provide information (and some clinical education!) for the senators. You may have seen him on the news. After they wrapped all of that up, they made their way to the main lobby for a brief news conference.
Talking is Senator Mike Flood from Norfolk. He’s also the speaker of the Nebraska unicameral. Other senators along for the ride were Kathy Campbell, Mike Gloor, Greg Adams and Tom Carlson.
If you’re unfamiliar with LB 599, it’s a bill that was just passed in our state legislature that would provide prenatal care for low-income women in the state of Nebraska. Governor Heineman has vowed to veto this bill because the coverage extends to illegal immigrants—hence the senators’ need for support. It will take 30 votes to override the veto; the bill was passed with 31 “yes” votes. A quick review of our local media will give you lots of info on this issue.
The Nebraska Hospital Association, the Nebraska Catholic Conference and a host of organizations support LB 599. As we know, children who go without prenatal care are at far more risk for low-birth weight, serious health problems and death. When born, many of these children will qualify for Medicaid which adds far more cost to the state than paying for prenatal care.
I’m quite certain we haven’t heard the last of this issue. If you feel so inclined, you can express your thoughts on the bill to our governor and to your state senator.