To: House Human Services Committee
From: Caitlin McDonald, Healthcare Advocate
Subject: SB 2283
Date: March 17, 2009

Chairman Weisz and Members of the Committee:
Good morning, my name is Caitlin McDonald, and I am here on behalf of the North Dakota Catholic Conference. We support SB 2283 and urge a do pass.

This bill, as passed by the Senate, increases the eligibility level for medical assistance benefits for pregnant women from the current rate of 133% of the federal poverty level to 165% of the federal poverty level. Increasing the coverage rate for pregnant women will enable more women to access vital prenatal care, proper nutrition, and other services essential to the health of both mother and baby. We feel this increase will ensure more positive outcomes for pregnant women and unborn children in North Dakota, as mothers who do not receive prenatal care are three times more likely to give birth to a low weight baby and their baby is five times more likely to die, according to the Maternal and Child Health Bureau, a division of the US Department of Health.

Please consider a Do Pass on SB 2283. I thank you for your time and consideration.