Lawmaker wants to pay pregnant moms for checkups - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Lawmaker wants to pay pregnant moms for checkups

(WMC-TV) – A state senator from Germantown is proposing a controversial bill that would make the state pay some expectant moms $50 for every prenatal doctor's appointment they go to.

State Senator Brian Kelsey says prenatal care is key and that's why he's introducing a plan he believes could eventually save lives and money.

Crystal Tricksey knows all too well how important prenatal care can be.

"I have a sick child that was premature and I see doctors all the time," she said.

That's why Kelsey is proposing paying expectant mothers in three Memphis zip codes for having prenatal checkups.

"It's about saving babies' lives and saving taxpayer dollars at the same time," he said.

The number of babies in Shelby County that will not make it to their first birthday is twice the national average, so Kelsey is introducing a bill that would pay mothers $50 for every prenatal care visit.

"For every prematurely born baby we're able to save and prevent, we actually save $100,000 in taxpayer dollars at the Med and so 50 bucks on the front end is a small price to pay," he said.

The program would target mothers in the three zip codes in Shelby County with the worst infant mortality rate: 38103, 38106 and 38114.

"We already provide free prenatal care to every mother on TennCare and we provide free transportation to and from it and yet some are not taking advantage of it," he said. "So this is a great way to encourage mothers to get the care they need."

"Healthcare alone it's just an arm and a leg," said Tricksey. "Regardless of if we have TennCare or not, the bill still comes to us. The $50 would help, but it wouldn't go far."

If approved, the bill would take effect July 1.

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