LB599: The Procreation Protection and Affordable Sex Act

Unicam Golden Ticket LB599

In recent days, the Lincoln-Journal Star has published what amounts to a one-two punch in the form of articles intended to push a bill expanding Nebraska’s Medicaid program to provide coverage for prenatal care.

Senator Kathy Campbell, a Republican, embarked on this crusade to expand Medicaid well over two years ago when some 1600 pregnant women were notified by Nebraska Medicaid authorities that the program would no longer pay for their prenatal care. About half of these women were illegal aliens. A portion of the women failed to comply with Medicaid rules, one of which requires a pregnant woman seeking Medicaid assistance to identify the father of her child to assist the state in holding him financially responsible for medical expenses and child support. Another portion of the women affected by the rule change were incarcerated. The remainder simply did not qualify for coverage because they didn’t meet the financial criteria — in other words, they either made too much money or failed to provide information about their income that is required to determine eligibility.

Senator Campbell withdrew her first bill, LB1110, when it became apparent it was so unpopular it had no hope of passing; but it was raised from the dead during the next legislative session under a new name, LB599.  It went nowhere then, but supporters vowed to breathe life into it yet again.  LB599 was carried over to this session and, SHAZAM, it received first round approval in the Unicameral with a vote of 30-16 in spite of the following facts:

  • Nebraska already offers much more generous Medicaid coverage than required by the federal government
  • Once Obamacare becomes fully armed and operational — IF the Supreme Court does not invalidate it — NEBRASKA WILL BE OBLIGATED TO MAINTAIN THE LEVELS OF COVERAGE IT HAS IN PLACE AT THAT TIME REGARDLESS OF THE STATE’S ABILITY TO PAY
  • Nebraska has budgetary problems, primarily attributable to Senators who look for every opportunity to spend like drunken sailors
  • The measure is opposed by a majority of Nebraskans
  • Governor Heineman has promised to veto the measure

Mock-up for the redesign of the State Capitol Building the Senators should consider

If those bullet points are accurate, why would our state senators — our mostly REPUBLICAN, SMALL-GOVERNMENT FAVORING, FISCALLY CONSERVATIVE state senators — vote in favor of such a bill?  The two Journal-Star articles reveal each of the two arguments that have been used to advance this measure.  Both are appeals to emotion rather than to reason, but our state senators have swallowed them, hook, line, and sinker like the big, bloviating, guppies that they are.  (BY THE WAY, did I mention that 35 OF THE 49 NEBRASKA STATE SENATORS ARE REPUBLICAN, SMALL-GOVERNMENT FAVORING, FISCAL CONSERVATIVES?)  I can hear the radio news update now:  “Hearts are bleeding all over the legislative chamber, out into the hallways of the Capitol, and flooding the intersection of 14th and K .  Story at eleven.”

On Sunday, the Journal-Star published an opinion piece authored by representatives of the Catholic Conference and the Bishops Pastoral Plan for Pro-Life Activities.  The linchpin of their argument in support of LB599 was that denying FREE prenatal care would lead to an uptick in abortions.  Folks, we’ve heard this song before.  As we here at GiN have consistently pointed out:

  • ABORTIONS COST MORE THAN PRENATAL CARE.  Someone who can’t afford prenatal care will be hard-pressed to come up with the lump sum required to obtain an abortion.
  • THE UPTICK IN ABORTIONS PREDICTED TO OCCUR WHEN THE FEDS REQUIRED NEBRASKA TO DISCONTINUE PAYING FOR PRENATAL CARE DID NOT MATERIALIZE.  In fact, the rate of abortions in the State fell by 3.4%.

I would also respectfully reiterate for the benefit of the Catholic Conference and the Catholic Bishops something I wrote almost two years ago:

“As a Christian, I agree we have a responsibility to care for those less fortunate. However, I believe this coalition of churches is misguided in seeking a government solution. Their educational efforts within their congregations would more accurately reflect Biblical principles if they explained and encouraged private charitable efforts as opposed to state-sponsored social welfare programs.”

I ask you, how comfortable are you right now with that government “solution” for health care reform that you supported in 2010?  How has that been working out for the Catholic Church recently?

The second of the articles I referred to above was published in Wednesday’s, April 4th, edition of the Journal-Star.  Written by Kevin O’Hanlon, it reports on LB599′s passage on initial reading and references comments by none other than Senator Kathy Campbell.  (At the risk of repeating myself, Senator Campbell is the REPUBLICAN sponsor of LB599 who <3 1 new social welfare programs even though she can’t seem to remember those catchy acronyms used to name them). 2  According to Senator Campbell:

“the lack of prenatal care for low-income pregnant women can lead to a host of health issues for newborn babies, including increased risk of birth defects, low birth weight and slowed mental development. That can cost the state more in the long run . . .because those children will be U.S. citizens if they are born here.”

Is it me, or does anyone else notice the not-so-subtle bigotry in the assumption behind this statement?  Once a child is born of a “low-income” woman, Senator Campbell and her posse assume the woman and her progeny will remain in poverty and, therefore, a drain upon society for the remainder of the child’s life.  Ever heard of the “soft bigotry of low expectations”?  Who’s to say that this woman won’t succeed in pulling herself and her family up from their humble beginnings to live a life not dependent in any way upon government aid?  Stranger things have happened.

As for Senator Campbell’s larger point, I think we can agree that everyone would prefer all children be born healthy and remain so. Where Senator Campbell and I differ comes down to the answer to this question: At whose expense? She clearly prefers that needy children’s health care be paid for, not out of her own pocket via contributions to private charitable efforts, but with other people’s money.

In contrast, I would first look to the parents to provide for their own offspring. It is particularly appropriate, in this age of sex education and readily-available birth control (a great deal of it provided at public expense, I might add), to question why a woman and/or her significant other would “plan” parenthood when they cannot afford the cost of prenatal care or, as it seems is the case in Nebraska, the cost of delivering the child.  Since 2008, over a THIRD of the births that occur in Nebraska 3 are paid for by Medicaid even though only 14% of the State’s population are Medicaid beneficiaries.  I ask you, what’s wrong with that picture?  Clearly, the least fortunate among us are reproducing at a higher rate than those of us who are more financially stable.  If a child’s parents cannot afford these initial investments, how can they hope to provide the funds necessary to care for the child when they bring him or her home?  Short answer:  They can’t.  Government welfare programs simply remove the necessity of considering the financial factor in this kind of family “planning”.

Suppose Senator Campbell is correct in her assumption that such children will remain dependent upon the State for their health care. Any “savings” to the public fisc that result from government-funded prenatal care disappear when one considers the total cost incurred by the public in raising each of those children to majority once they are delivered. Subsidize a behavior and you get more of it. Remove the subsidy, and having a family you can’t afford might actually appear to be the irresponsible, unfeasible, and unwise decision that it truly is. The prospective parents might then consider taking the necessary steps to delay conception until such time as they can truly afford to support themselves as well as a child.

Last, but not least, passing this bill is the functional equivalent of carpeting our nation’s borders with “Nebraska” welcome mats emblazoned with the words, “Y’all come!”.  There’s a reason Nebraska comes in at number eight among the top ten states with the fastest growing immigrant populations, many of them here illegally.  Again, subsidize something, and you get more of it.

Clearly, this is a bad bill based on bad policy which will make an even worse law. The Unicameral should put this matter to rest for once and for all.

Email subscribers, click HERE to watch the video.

Editor’s Note:

There have been a number of votes on this bill, including on a number of amendments, many of which were procedural maneuvers. Note that two Senators did attempt amendments that would have altered or removed language which provide coverage for illegal immigrants (although one of those amendments would have the new law take effect SOONER.)

The roll call vote listed here is for vote number of two out of three before the bill is sent to the Governor’s desk. The third and final vote is scheduled for next Tuesday.  If you decide to make contact, as always, we recommend you contact YOUR OWN SENATOR, noting that you are a constituent.

In addition, contacting the Governor’s office is recommended. He has said he will veto this bill, but, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to ensure his resolve remains FIRM.

Voting in the affirmative, 29:

Adams

Ashford

Avery

Campbell

Carlson

Christensen

Coash

Conrad

Cook

Cornett

Council

Dubas

Flood

Gloor

Haar, K.

Hadley

Harms

Harr, B.

Langemeier

Lautenbaugh

McCoy

Nelson

Howard

Karpisek

Krist

Lathrop

Louden

McGill

Pirsch

Price

Schilz

Smith

Mello

Nordquist

Schumacher

Wallman

Wightman

Voting in the negative, 16:

Bloomfield

Brasch

Fischer

Fulton

Hansen

Heidemann

Janssen

Lambert

Present and not voting, 2:

Larson

Pahls

Excused and not voting, 2:

Seiler

Sullivan

LINKS TO CONTACT INFORMATION:

Interactive map of legislative districts – find your senator

List of Senators

Governor Dave Heineman

Website (includes Email contact form)

Lincoln Office/
State Capitol:

Office of the Governor
P.O. Box 94848
Lincoln, NE 68509-4848

Phone: 402-471-2244
Fax: 402-471-6031

Western Office:
Office of the Governor
4500 Avenue I
P.O. Box 1500
Scottsbluff, NE 69363-1500

Phone: 308-632-1370
Fax: 308-632-1313

[jbox color="platinum" shadow="2" width="600" content_css="font-size: 18px; color:#306262; font-variant: small-caps; letter-spacing: 3px;"]Selection of GiN Related Articles[/jbox]

Prenatal Care Bills LB1110/LB599 – It’s NOT About Abortion Anymore

Senator Campbell: DON’T GO AWAY MAD. JUST GO AWAY.

Nebraska Groups Working with the UN to Expand Welfare

Strange But True: The UN is Interested in Nebraska Prenatal Care
Nebraska Deem & Pass? LB 1110 Proved Shenanigans Not Limited To Federal Government

Nebraska Appleseed Not Happy: Judge Refuses Injunction

[jbox color="white" shadow="3" width="600" content_css="font-size: 24px; color:#575757; font-variant: small-caps; letter-spacing: 3px;" icon="http://grassrootsne.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/camera.ico"]Image Credit & Copyright Notice[/jbox]

Unicam Golden Ticket image, blank ticket derived from R123. Design and editing, Copyright grassrootsne.com, 2012

Unicameral redesign “mock-up” – Willy Wonka hat cake: CakesKeyArtStudio.com

[jbox color="white" shadow="3" width="600" content_css="font-size: 24px; color:#575757; font-variant: small-caps; letter-spacing: 3px;" icon="http://grassrootsne.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/book.ico"]Footnotes, References & Citations[/jbox]

Notes:

  1. The characters “<3″ are an internet symbol for “hearts”, meaning “love”. So Senator Campbell loves new welfare programs.
  2. At a hearing before the Health and Human Services Committee during an exchange between Senator Campbell and the Director of the Division of Medicaid and Long Term Care for the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services, Senator Campbell could not recall the name of the PACE program, calling it the PATH program. She was corrected by the Director and responded to the Director’s correction with the statement, “PACE, why can I — I can never get that correct. . . . I mean, I have to say, I’m really excited by that program.”
  3. In prior articles, we’ve cited to a Lincoln Journal Star article which reported that 47% of the births in Nebraska are paid for by Medicaid. We now realize that there is reason to question that information and have not as yet been able to verify the correct figures, although it is clear based on our examination of the data reported by the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services that over a third of the births in the state are paid for by Medicaid. The data for 2010 can be seen HERE, the source cited is the NEDHHS. Currently questionable data, includes percentages reported by the Kaiser Family Foundation (surprise!), such as those reported HERE..

Comments

  1. says

    ” Both are appeals to emotion rather than to reason”, This is exactly what I said to Senator Campbells office. I feel your frustration too. This is ridiculous. Where is this influence coming from anyway? The state’s majority do not want this. They wanted LB239. If they are expected to pay for something, they want to pay for those bills that end up saving them money. I guess the GiN eight part series on the Nebraska Republican Party is about the only thing helping some of us try to understand where the logic has gone within our state GOP. (Obviously the same place our Federal GOP has.) Truthfully, is it money, outside pressure, a new alien influence, what????

    • Linda says

      Mr. Mason:
      You ask, what is the source of the outside pressure making the Republican members of the Unicameral support bills so obviously contrary to their Party’s professed political philosophy and, at the same time, fail to support bills that fall within the frame of reference of that same philosophy. While I understand your frustration, your question is based upon a false premise. You perceive their behavior as out of character. That assumes they really BELIEVE all that talk about fiscal conservatism and family values they dish out so liberally when on the campaign trail or when they’re talking to concerned constituents. If you have actually read and understood the eight-part series of articles we’ve published about the Ruling Class in Nebraska that you reference, you’d know that your assumption is in error. Many Nebraska Republicans are perfectly comfortable with the progressive agenda. A case in point is Senator Kathy Campbell, but she is not alone. She’s just a textbook example of the breed.

      One of the articles we’ve written about LB1110/LB599 that is linked at the bottom of this current article, concerns a push by a U.N. sponsored group or groups to encourage attendees at a conference in Omaha to strenuously lobby the Unicameral to pass this legislation. Interestingly, the conference at which that push was made was targeted at social workers, many of whom are actually public employees working at DHHS and/or State-funded nonprofits. In essence, these attendees are lobbying in their own self-interest, since this bill will increase the demand for their services and expand the pool of taxpayer funds available to pay them. So, I imagine there’s been a comparatively heavy amount of communication running from these groups straight to each of our elected representatives in the Unicam. Unfortunately, I think our representatives are more inclined to heed members of state government’s administrative bureaucracy than the average Nebraskan. After all, those bureaucrats are “experts,” don’t cha know. The rest of us are just a bunch of rubes who don’t know no better.

      • Norlyn Raisch says

        In addition to seeing citizens as “rubes who don’t know no better”, the ruling class has also correctly identified the average citizen as one who will complain bitterly about “the out-of-control government”, yet will in the next breath tell you they are too busy to pay attention to politics, and anyway, why bother to vote when it doesn’t make any difference?

        The ruling class doesn’t pay any attention to Joe Citizen because mostly, Joe Citizen presents no threat to their job security.

  2. says

    Linda, Not only did I read the eight part series, I printed it out and have been its biggest promoter. Making it required reading for our local coordinators. So when GiN talks about the real Republican Party and it being controlled by the ruling elite of the GOP establishment, lets not stretch out the explanation. State it as simply as possible.
    You mentioned you ‘think our representatives are more inclined to heed their own governments bureaucracy leaders, than the regular joe blows’, and you imagine a bunch of communication going back and forth from those agencies that are affected in some way by this proposed legislation. What kind of affect? Actual, legal or political. Are they actually going to change how they operate or is it truly more political which I suspect.

    When it comes to Nebraska Republicans, and how dirty they party here is in Nebraska, is it that way because those state representatives felt more inclined to be Republican by conviction or because they felt they had better chances of getting elected at that time if they were in the Republican Party? BTW, is there an organization that has scored the individual representatives accurately like the National Taxpayers Union did of Congress last week?
    Because some of us do not have the time to follow the operational side of the party politics they way we would like, it would be nice for when we begin to fill those precincts with the type of conservatives we really want with the intention of getting rid of the ‘Kathy Campbell’ types of Republicans in the near future. I wish I could say it plain about why Campbell did this, in my opinion, Kathy Campbell could have proposed 599 because she wanted to approach the bill like a mother instead of how the Republican Majority in the state would want them too. And the rest who went along did so because they didn’t want to be viewed as unwilling to protect the unborn or be uncaring of the poor. Like they were afraid of what the media would say about them. So typical of the current beltway Republicans and how they were assaulted with the Dream Act.
    So, back to why. There is a reason. What is it?

    • Linda says

      Mr. Mason:

      I don’t “imagine” a bunch of communication going back and forth between bureaucrats and our elected representatives in state government. Attend legislative committee hearings or read transcripts of them accessible through the Unicameral’s website. The majority of testimony taken at any such hearing comes from the bureaucrats that people the administrative agencies of our state government. Additionally, it is clear from talking to our state senators that the lion’s share of the bills they introduce and sponsor in the Unicameral comes from those same administrative bureaucrats rather than from the senators themselves or from their constituents. Additionally, much of the data the members of the Unicameral cite and/or consider in the process of legislating comes from reports authored by those very same bureaucrats.

      As for the Nebraska GOP in general, I don’t think they’re exceptional in the numbers of party officials, elected officials with an R after their names, and party faithful that really have no concept what the party itself historically stood for in a philosophical sense. Our educational system has produced a populace that has very little sense of either history or philosophy. Politics are “supposed” to be disconnected from social issues, which is really just another way of saying that morality shouldn’t play a role. There is no right or wrong, only what will help you prevail in the next election. Retention of power trumps doing the right thing or, in virtually every instance, even the contemplation of what the right thing might be in any given situation. (In other words right = what will get a newbie elected or an incumbent re-elected.)

      And what political orientation ultimately presents an easier path to victory? Clearly, that’s progressivism. I’m no Romney fan, but his answer to a woman at one of his rallies who wanted “free birth control” was a textbook example of why progressivism usually wins in this day and age where critical thinking skills are virtually extinct. He said, “If you’re looking for free stuff, vote for the other side.” In the environment I described in the previous paragraph of this comment, how can principle compete with “free stuff” and win? In many ways, true republicanism (notice the small “r”) “sucks” because we have to be the grownup in the political room. See this Bill Whittle video for a very thorough discussion of this point.

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