Prenatal Care Won't Be Expanded Through Statute

Mar 5, 2014

Legislators are exploring different ways to give prenatal care to mothers who don’t qualify under certain Medicaid provisions. Wednesday, the governor's office asked members of the Senate Appropriations committee to kill House Bill 1158. Lawmakers defeated that measure, which extends prenatal care to all babies born in South Dakota, regardless of their mother's immigration status.

Deb Bowman is a senior advisor in the Governor's Office.

“We know that prenatal care prevents premature births, it prevents birth defects, and all the things we’ve talked about whether that’s been in the governor’s initiative on infant mortality, or when we’ve talked about our million dollar babies as we talk about our Medicaid budget. If we can spend $1,266 on these individuals, these pregnant moms, in order to prevent a million dollar baby, that’s not only good human sense, that’s also good economic sense,” Bowman says.
Bowman says the governor doesn't want to change the state's Medicaid plan through statute; he would rather lawmakers use the general funding bill. They can amend that legislation even on the last day of the regular session.

Some committee members express concerns about providing care for illegal immigrants. Proponents of the move say the state saves money by providing prenatal care, rather than having high medical costs from premature or unhealthy babies.