A bill that would restore prenatal care coverage for illegal immigrants in Nebraska has cleared a first-round vote in the Legislature, despite objections from Governor Dave Heineman.
Lawmakers advanced the measure through the first of three votes late Tuesday, 30-16. Supporters argued that the measure was a moral imperative, while opponents said it would force taxpayers to cover illegal immigrant care.
About 1,600 women lost their coverage in 2010, after the federal government ordered the state to stop offering services through Medicaid. Roughly half were illegal immigrants.
The bill would extend coverage to an estimated 1,200 unborn children per year. It would cost roughly $650,000 annually in state money and $2.6 million in federal dollars.
The 30 "yes" votes would give lawmakers enough support to override Heineman's veto.