Maternity care

Races for the Senate, U.S. House, etc. and other issues of national importance.
kurt_w
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Maternity care

Postby kurt_w » Fri Mar 09, 2012 8:03 am

It costs a lot to have a baby in America. Focusing just on the delivery itself, and ignoring all the pre- and post-natal care, a typical delivery with no complications will cost something like $10,000. With a C-section or complications, it may be twice that (or more).

Quite a few women in America don't have health insurance. Thus, about 40% of births in the US are paid for by public programs, mainly Medicaid and CHIP.

If you get insurance through a group plan, part or most of the cost of delivery may be covered. But if you're self-employed or your employer doesn't provide insurance, and you have to buy an individual plan ... you're probably out of luck. Only 13 percent of private individual insurance plans cover any maternity costs, and in many states there are no (zero) plans available that would cover anything related to pregnancy or delivery.

This story illustrates how awful the individual insurance market is for maternity care. Stuck in the individual market, Ms Wildman carefully chose a plan that seemed to offer the best maternity coverage. But buried deep in the fine print of an addendum to the policy was a clause capping this coverage at $3000. After delivery (via C-section), Ms Wildman returned home with her healthy baby and discovered that the hospital was billing her for $22,000 in charges that her insurance company refused to pay. (Well, they refused to pay until they learned that she was a journalist; when they discovered that she was writing a story about her case, the insurance company suddenly decided that it would be happy to cover 90% of the costs of maternity care after all.)

Fortunately, PPACA ("Obamacare") fixes this problem. Its minimum-standards provisions require all insurance plans to cover maternity care. So, unless the Republicans manage to kill off PPACA, every woman in America will have coverage for maternity care, either through public or private insurance. It's unbelievable that it's taken so long, but better late than never.

But I can't help wondering, once again, what the hell is wrong with the GOP? Why aren't they out in front on this issue? They want to ban abortion, and a lot of them apparently don't like contraception, either. They want to gut the programs that pay for 40% of childbirths (Medicaid, CHIP), and they want to repeal PPACA.

So ... what's their answer for pregnant women? I literally have never heard any prominent GOP candidate or spokesperson explain their plan for reducing the crippling costs that many families have to pay to have a baby. If there is such a plan, I would bet that it consists of ... tax credits and/or tax-sheltered individual medical spending accounts. That way, the wealthy get their maternity care expenses covered, while the poor ...

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Re: Maternity care

Postby Crockett » Fri Mar 09, 2012 8:41 am


peripat
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Re: Maternity care

Postby peripat » Fri Mar 09, 2012 9:02 am

No insurance in part is causing increase in home births (and the number of midwives and doulas)

kurt_w
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Re: Maternity care

Postby kurt_w » Fri Mar 09, 2012 11:10 am

Hey, thanks for the link, Crockett. That is rather mind-boggling.

Peripat, that's an interesting observation. If that's a real trend, I think it's both sad and dangerous. There's nothing wrong with having doulas or midwives involved during labor/delivery; but IMVHO it should be done at the hospital, not at home. Bad enough if people are choosing to do home births voluntarily, but much worse (appalling, actually) if they're feeling that they have no other choice for financial reasons.

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Re: Maternity care

Postby ilikebeans » Fri Mar 09, 2012 12:13 pm


Un-freakin'-real.

And the U.S. is the only industrialized nation that doesn't mandate that parents of newborns get paid leave.

Not only that-- mouse over some of the non-industrialized countries. Then I found this at Wikipedia:

Only four countries have no national law mandating paid time off for new parents: Liberia, Papua New Guinea, Swaziland, and the United States. In the U.S., the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA) mandates up to 12 weeks of (potentially unpaid) job-protected leave, including parental leave, for many American workers. Subnational laws also vary; for example the U.S. state of California does mandate paid family leave, including parental leave for same-sex partners.

And here we are in an election year debating the merits of contraception. How fucking backwards is that?


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