Neonatal care for more low-income women defeated

A proposal to provide health care for several hundred more low-income pregnant women was defeated Wednesday.

Four members of the six-member conference committee endorsed the proposal, which would have raised the Medicaid eligibility threshold from 133 percent of the federal poverty level to 140 percent.

But because two of the three House members on the committee were opposed, it was unable to pass.

Sen. Jean Hunhoff, R-Yankton, argued providing more neonatal care would pay for itself by preventing much more expensive medical complications.

But Deb Bowman, a senior adviser to Gov. Dennis Daugaard, opposed the expansion. She said it was unnecessary because those women would be eligible for subsidized health care next year on the federal health care exchange.

With Reps. Steve Westra, R-Sioux Falls, and Jon Hansen, R-Dell Rapids, firmly opposed to the expansion, the deadlocked committee then voted 4-2 to kill the proposed expansion.

That ends the issue for the year.