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On World AIDS Day, New Mexico activists say more money is needed for prevention; ND farmers still navigate corporate land-ownership policy maze; Unpaid caregivers in ME receive limited financial grants.

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Secretary of State Antony Blinken urges Israel to protect civilians amid Gaza truce talks, New York Rep. George Santos defends himself as his expected expulsion looms and CDC director warns about respiratory illness as flu season begins.

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Congress has iced the Farm Bill, but farmer advocates argue some portions are urgent, the Hoosier State is reaping big rewards from wind and solar, and opponents react to a road through Alaska's Brooks Range, long a dream destination for hunters and anglers.

New VA Law: Prenatal Care for Some Legal Immigrants Covered

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Thursday, July 5, 2012   

RICHMOND, Va. - Pregnant, low-income legal immigrants and children under the age of 19 are now eligible for health care through Medicaid and FAMIS (Family Access to Medical Insurance Security), under a new Virginia law that went into effect this week.

Virginia Poverty Law Center staff attorney Jill Hanken says approximately 1,000 pregnant women, and hundreds of children, will benefit from the new coverage.

"The data shows that pregnant women who get prenatal care are more likely to have full-term births, which means the babies are probably going to be healthier. So, the data we gathered convinced the General Assembly that this was a cost-effective measure."

Hanken says women who don't receive prenatal care are more likely to give birth prematurely. She adds that, according to estimates, adopting the federal option to provide Medicaid and FAMIS to qualified low-income immigrants will actually save the state money in the long run.

"Virginia is covering the babies of these moms anyway, so the idea was to make sure that we got the healthiest babies we possibly could, the healthiest pregnancies that we could. And that requires prenatal care."

Hanken says Medicaid already covered, and still does cover, emergency services for pregnant women who are undocumented, such as labor and delivery services.

She says in order to qualify for the new prenatal care coverage, women must be residents of Virginia, and have legally resided in the U.S. for less than five years. Children must be under 19. Certain income requirements also apply. There's more information at www.famis.org.





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