Typically, when I log into my health insurance profile to verify processed claims, I take note of the dollar amount, gawk a little, and then go on my merry way. However, with all of the recent political chatter about health care reform, these dollar amounts are no longer just some numbers on a page that I have no control over.
Here’s how much it cost for me to have a baby this year:
Now, take into consideration that I chose to have my baby at a hospital (which costs more than a home or birth center delivery) and I had to have an emergency cesarian section which landed me an extra day of room and board (vaginal delivery = 48 hours of room and board, c-section = 72 hours).
However, seeing that in the past two years, 99% of births occurred in hospitals and 31.8% of those hospital births were cesareans, we can probably assume that out of the 4,317,119 births that occurred in 2007, 1,372,844 of those cost the same as mine.
Don’t have a calculator handy? That’s fine, I’ll do the math for you… $31,924,018,276.92 spent each year on one third of the births in the US.
$31.9 BILLION DOLLARS!!!
If that dollar amount didn’t make you gasp in amazement then maybe this story will.
While in the hospital I was provided a nipple shield to help Adelaide learn to latch properly in order to breastfeed. It worked like a charm and I used it at every feeding. I made note of the fact that the shield was made by a Madela, a popular breast feeding equipment company, and when we were discharged I asked Matt to go to Target to see if he could find a second one to have around. He was successful, and returned with an identical nipple shield. Well, almost identical.
Here are both nipple shields. They are the same brand, size, material, color, shape, texture, smell and any other physical characteristic you can think of.
Here is what Target charges for the Medela Nipple Shield:
Here is what the hospital charged the insurance company for the EXACT SAME product:
That’s a 239% mark up over retail. Shouldn’t the hospital be paying bulk pricing for these things?? Why on earth is a hospital (a safe place of healing) so grotesquely overcharging its patrons!?
I think this is a perfect example of why this country needs to wake up, and find a solution for our health care system, so everyone can receive health care affordably. I don’t have any idea what that solutions should be, but it’s about time we made it a priority to find out.
- Births: Final Data (annual report, 2006). National vital statistics reports. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics. www.cdc.gov/nchs/births.htm. (Accessed August 20, 2009).
- Births: Preliminary Data for 2007. National vital statistics reports. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics. www.cdc.gov/nchs/births.htm. (Accessed August 20, 2009).