American Way of Birth, Costliest in the World - U2 Feedback

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Old 07-01-2013, 12:49 PM   #1
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American Way of Birth, Costliest in the World

Simply appalling statistics and can't even be justified with the "we have the best healthcare in the world" because when it come to pregnancy and maternal health, Americans do not, by a long shot.

Anyone who is pro-life - where are your voices on this?

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/01/he....html?hp&_r=1&

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Like Ms. Martin, plenty of other pregnant women are getting sticker shock in the United States, where charges for delivery have about tripled since 1996, according to an analysis done for The New York Times by Truven Health Analytics. Childbirth in the United States is uniquely expensive, and maternity and newborn care constitute the single biggest category of hospital payouts for most commercial insurers and state Medicaid programs. The cumulative costs of approximately four million annual births is well over $50 billion.

And though maternity care costs far less in other developed countries than it does in the United States, studies show that their citizens do not have less access to care or to high-tech care during pregnancy than Americans.

“It’s not primarily that we get a different bundle of services when we have a baby,” said Gerard Anderson, an economist at the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health who studies international health costs. “It’s that we pay individually for each service and pay more for the services we receive.”

...

Financially, they suffer the consequences. In 2011, 62 percent of women in the United States covered by private plans that were not obtained through an employer lacked maternity coverage, like Ms. Martin. But even many women with coverage are feeling the pinch as insurers demand higher co-payments and deductibles and exclude many pregnancy-related services.

From 2004 to 2010, the prices that insurers paid for childbirth — one of the most universal medical encounters — rose 49 percent for vaginal births and 41 percent for Caesarean sections in the United States, with average out-of-pocket costs rising fourfold, according to a recent report by Truven that was commissioned by three health care groups. The average total price charged for pregnancy and newborn care was about $30,000 for a vaginal delivery and $50,000 for a C-section, with commercial insurers paying out an average of $18,329 and $27,866, the report found.

...

In most other developed countries, comprehensive maternity care is free or cheap for all, considered vital to ensuring the health of future generations.

...

Only in the United States is pregnancy generally billed item by item, a practice that has spiraled in the past decade, doctors say. No item is too small. Charges that 20 years ago were lumped together and covered under the general hospital fee are now broken out, leading to more bills and inflated costs. There are separate fees for the delivery room, the birthing tub and each night in a semiprivate hospital room, typically thousands of dollars. Even removing the placenta can be coded as a separate charge.

Each new test is a new source of revenue, from the hundreds of dollars billed for the simple blood typing required before each delivery to the $20 or so for the splash of gentian violet used as a disinfectant on the umbilical cord (Walgreens’ price per bottle: $2.59). Obstetricians, who used to do routine tests like ultrasounds in their office as part of their flat fee, now charge for the service or farm out such testing to radiologists, whose rates are far higher.

...

Despite its lavish spending, 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.
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Old 07-01-2013, 01:01 PM   #2
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God bless America,
Land of the free
Best country in the world
Beacon of democracy

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Old 07-01-2013, 01:12 PM   #3
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There is so much that's depressing about the way we have babies in America. There may have been other threads about this in the past, but The Business of Being Born is another great one on the subject.

On the upside, there's a great little film about this woman Ina May Gaskin, who's made a career out of delivering lots babies with better outcomes than hospitals at a fraction of the cost. "Birth Story: Ina May Gaskin & the Farm Midwives" Official Trailer - YouTube
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Old 07-01-2013, 04:15 PM   #4
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There is so much that's depressing about the way we have babies in America. There may have been other threads about this in the past, but The Business of Being Born is another great one on the subject.
It's obscene. Part of the spiralling costs of healthcare.

We paid cash for our second baby -- I was between projects and our health care had run out. What no one tells you is that when you're a cash patient, the costs drop dramatically. But we still were in debt for two years paying that off.

When we had our third baby, we chose to do a home birth (in part because my wife watched The Business of Being Born). Thankfully, we had a reasonably healthy pregnancy which allowed that to be an option. We were amazed at how easy it was to hire a doula, and how so many of the costs associated with childbirth went away.

Some friends had a baby born at 30 weeks; she was in the NICU for eight weeks. They had no health care insurance. The hospital worked it out with them, but the costs were still insane. Two years later, they still owe thousands of dollars.

Something has to be done about the cost of health care in this country.
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Old 07-01-2013, 05:37 PM   #5
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but socialism.
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Old 07-01-2013, 06:06 PM   #6
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The average total price charged for pregnancy and newborn care was about $30,000 for a vaginal delivery and $50,000 for a C-section, with commercial insurers paying out an average of $18,329 and $27,866, the report found.
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We paid cash for our second baby
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But we still were in debt for two years paying that off.
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Two years later, they still owe thousands of dollars.
Absolutely appalling.

I haven't paid enough attention to the Affordable Care Act. From my understanding, it will ensure that Americans are not left without (private) insurance - will it help resolve this issue?
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Old 07-01-2013, 06:47 PM   #7
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Absolutely appalling.
It was. I think we wound up paying half of that -- we got onto a different plan -- but even $15K was insane. I know that some churches and religious organizations have formed co-ops for their members, but it's all on an ad-hoc basis. Something needs to be done about the fundamental business model that undergirds the healthcare system; I'm not sure that even Obamacare addresses the core problem.
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Old 07-01-2013, 06:52 PM   #8
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No, it doesn't. Part of the problem is that in the US we bill per procedure. So the more a doc does, the more they get paid. Financially speaking, a person who stays sick forever is an ideal patient. In the UK, as a counter example, they bill per patient and docs are financially rewarded for having good outcomes.

Also, of course, our model is for-profit, which Obamacare doesn't touch at all. It's notable that in countries with nationalized healthcare, they are scandalized and disgusted by the idea of for-profit medicine.
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Old 07-02-2013, 09:22 AM   #9
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You guys actually pay to have your baby delivered? Wow..
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And if U2 EVER did Hawkmoon live....and the version from the Lovetown Tour, my uterus would leave my body and fling itself at Bono - for realz.
Don't worry baby, it's gonna be all right. Uncertainty can be a guiding light...
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Old 07-02-2013, 10:05 AM   #10
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You guys actually pay to have your baby delivered? Wow..

Because socialism!
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Old 07-02-2013, 11:28 AM   #11
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wow... that is insane...

i had all the bells and whistles when my first child was born, every type of pain relief ticked on my medical records from a TENS machine, pethidine, gas and air, epidural, morphine to GA lol - they nearly lost us both in the process, but the medical care was amazing and thankfully we didn't have to worry about the bill or cutting corners... i didn't have to pay a penny!
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Old 07-02-2013, 01:29 PM   #12
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What is the point of this article? Do we need to address the costs of healthcare? Or do we just want to carve out another aspect of life that the government should take care of for us (i.e., other people pay)?

(I found it amusing that the couple first cited in the article - two professionals - purchased insurance, but obtained a policy that did not cover maternity care – how is that for planning!)

Let’s face it; we no longer live in a world of health insurance. Insurance is a method by which an individual can mitigate risk by spreading costs over time. We now get sucked into a pool of health care coverage. Increased regulation of health care through mandated coverage, among other things (malpractice coverage, extensive overhead, etc.), leads to the inane pricing structures quoted in the article ($4,000 to $45,000) as the costs of mandated coverage must be made up somewhere.

Costs of maternity care are really no different than the costs of other health care in the US. Until we shatter the current mindset (healthcare is good, more is better, someone else should pay), we will never resolve the issue.

Despite the high costs, I haven’t seen any evidence that people are traveling to other countries to deliver their child. To the contrary, we still seem to have people traveling to the US for maternal care.
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Old 07-02-2013, 01:44 PM   #13
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does someone who gives birth in the Netherlands feel as if someone else has funded their birth, or do they feel as if they've paid into a system that guarantees access to all at a reasonable cost possible only when, like social security, the young and healthy pay for the sick and old (or the pregnant, or the unlucky, or the accident victims, or those with cancer) until it is their time to derive the benefits they have already paid for? why in the US do we have a mentality where we so dislike our fellow citizens we assume that any social service somehow comes at a direct cost to ME -- "on my dime" -- without any ability to empathize that, what if not but for the grace of God there go i?
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Old 07-02-2013, 02:57 PM   #14
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does someone who gives birth in the Netherlands feel as if someone else has funded their birth, or do they feel as if they've paid into a system that guarantees access to all at a reasonable cost possible only when, like social security, the young and healthy pay for the sick and old (or the pregnant, or the unlucky, or the accident victims, or those with cancer) until it is their time to derive the benefits they have already paid for? why in the US do we have a mentality where we so dislike our fellow citizens we assume that any social service somehow comes at a direct cost to ME -- "on my dime" -- without any ability to empathize that, what if not but for the grace of God there go i?
i'm not in the Netherlands, but have lived in the UK and France, and benefited from national/non-private healthcare systems in both countries - in the UK it was different as the NHS stamps (health insurance contributions) were very low compared to France for example (we do pay a small fortune in France for full 100% reimbursed health cover, but it's been worth every penny)... i do basically pay into a system which guarantees us protection when me and my family need it, no questions asked - i feel very lucky to be able to benefit from that, and we have always had access very high quality healthcare, especially in France... it's a given over here that it's the active working population who are paying for the elderly and infirm... i hope it can continue, although it is worrying what with the current economic crisis...
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Old 07-02-2013, 03:05 PM   #15
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given the US's size, diversity, and wild difference between, say, California and Mississippi, i wonder how a French or UK-style system would work here ... however, what baffles me is the resistance so many Americans seem to have about paying into a system from which all eventually benefit, even if unequally.

or, perhaps, the real danger with Obamacare and the hysteria on the right is that it will work, and it will become as wildly popular as Social Security and Medicare, two programs that Americans certainly love deriving the benefits from.
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