Nebraska Senators representing Lancaster County convened a public meeting on Wednesday, November 17, at the Lincoln Public School District building at 59th & O St. The first half of the meeting, allocated to the subject of problems with Nebraska’s child welfare system were reviewed in an article located HERE, an accounting of comments by myself and Linda about Nebraska's serious budget issues, concerns about Nebraska's medicaid program, and implementation of the health care law can be read HERE, and a GiN "Toast" for Senator Colby Coash can be found HERE.
In addressing the Senators present about Nebraska's Medicaid program, Linda at one point focused on the shocking fact that 47% of Nebraska births in 2008 were paid for by Medicaid and projections indicated that number would go up 2-3% per year thereafter.
Providing such benefits, Linda pointed out, discourages people from making choices based on their own ability to pay for them; people who may not be able to afford the responsibility are encouraged to have children because they know someone else will pay the bills.
Senator Amanda McGill, who represents District 26, was literally unable to sit still, interrupted, "I'm sorry, I have to say something. What do you expect them to do, deliver at home?"
While such hyperbolic drama does tend to leave one speechless for a bit, it doesn't take long to come up with a response, and Linda did so, in generally, but more succinctly than my statements, below.
No, Senator, we expect people to do the responsible thing. You know, like the majority of Americans traditionally used to do? Who among us who strives to be personally responsible, yet who are not independently wealthy, have not taken into account our financial circumstances when deciding to have more children? In the event that the unexpected, but most blessed gift of a child has been given to us, we do whatever we must to pay our bills. Second jobs are secured, expenses scrutinized, extras are cut out of the budget, and perhaps we get on a payment plan with the doctor and the hospital. Some unmarried pregnant women, not believing themselves ready for the responsibility and desiring a two parent family for their child, give them up for adoption. Whatever it takes to be responsible and do the right thing. Many Americans still conduct themselves this way.
Beyond those points, before nearly half of the births were paid for by the State of Nebraska, I had not heard of rashes of at-home births taking place. Somehow people managed.
And speaking of the apparently unthinkable, at home births are just one option considered by parents today who seek a calmer, more relaxing environment in which to deliver their babies.
Senator McGill clearly missed the point. We should all be shocked that so many Nebraska births are paid for by Medicaid. We should want to know why that is the case, how it affects our society and whether it is sustainable in light of our increasing financial problems.
Amanda McGill is, unfortunately, the Senator who is representing my district. I believe she is Deserving of Darts, what do you think?