Giving birth in America is costlier but not safer
The US by far leads the world in maternity expenses even as new mothers and babies die at alarming rates.
Citing data from the International Federation of Health Plans, the newspaper said the average price for a vaginal delivery in 2012 was $9,775, while a cesarean section cost $15,041. In Switzerland, which ranked second, those costs were $4,039 and $5,186, respectively.
Worse, these gigantic differences aren't translating into healthier mothers and babies.
"Despite its lavish spending," the paper noted, "the United States has one of the highest rates of both infant and maternal death among industrialized nations, although the fact that poor and uninsured women and those whose insurance does not cover childbirth have trouble getting or paying for prenatal care contributes to those figures."
Obstetricians in the U.S., who have among the highest malpractice insurance rates, aren't getting rich from this trend, the paper said. Less than 25% of birthing fees go to these doctors, many of whom charge flat rates.
Even women with normal pregnancies get more tests than they need. And about 30% of American women are induced with drugs or have C-sections, a rate far higher than doctors say is necessary and well in excess of the rest of the world, the report said.
Although the Obama administration's Affordable Care Act will enable 30 million more people to have insurance by the end of the decade, it isn't clear whether that coverage will meet the needs of those who buy it, The Washington Post recently noted.
"Millions of Americans pay monthly premiums with the expectation that, should a horrible illness or accident occur, the insurance company will cover the majority of some pretty expensive hospital bills," the paper said. "Some experts and health advocates have begun to question whether the health-care law can deliver on that promise."
As it is now, many people with jobs don't have maternity coverage, which prompts them watch every penny they spend to bring their children into the world. That's one reason more than 60% of all personal bankruptcies are tied to medical costs.
Giving birth to a baby shouldn't also mean giving birth to a bankruptcy.
Jonathan Berr does not own shares of the listed stocks. Follow him on Twitter @jdberr.
"'Despite its lavish spending,' the paper noted, 'the United States has one of the highest rates of both infant and maternal death among industrialized nations [. . ..']"
But the mortality stats aren't so out of line for a Third World nation, or a banana republic.
Could that mean . . ..
SO - Another example of why a single health care system is needed for all Americans. Our country lags behind in health care and education. Both are in need of reform ASAP so we can compete in an every changing global economy.
Healthy pregnancies are a significant source of income for hospitals! A lot of obstetricians do take Medicaid, because it is profitable for them!
Hence, RECORD LOW BIRTH RATES like today's America.
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