That’s what an economist for the Big Push for Midwives has calculated (pdf file) the country could save in healthcare expenditures if we increased the number of midwife-attended out-of-hospital births from 1 percent to 10 percent.
As Jennifer Block points out on RH Reality Check, hopsital maternity care accounts for the largest chunk of hospital expenses—a whole lot of which is paid for by the taxpayers. And where else are you going to get that kind of cost savings and improved results—fewer preterm births, fewer unnecessary interventions, etc.?
Of course some hospitals may cry economy-crusher, as Block quotes an insurance company insider saying that they are relying on their NICUs to fund other services. There’s a nice creepy example of the bad incentives created by a for-profit health care system if I ever heard one. But if we have to have one, at least give the OBs some good old-fashioned free-market competition from licensed midwives.
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