Target: United States Secretary of Health and Human Services Sylvia Mathews Burwell
Goal: Require insurance companies to limit exorbitant out-of-pocket maternity costs
With the recent Supreme Court rulings regarding the “rights” of for-profit organizations to deny their employees contraception, bypassing federal law to act in accordance with their “religious beliefs,” you would think that the alternative to using such preventative measures would be relatively inexpensive, if not at all pain free. Unfortunately, giving birth in America is more expensive than anywhere else in the developed world. Urge insurance providers to offer more extensive maternity care coverage at lower out-of-pocket costs to ensure a successful start to a new child’s life.
Charges for even standard, uncomplicated deliveries in the United States have tripled since 1996, and now average $9,775 for vaginal births and $15,041 for Cesarean sections after insurance has covered everything that it will. These costs do not include the bills from other routine procedures such as ultrasounds and blood testing.
Compared to other developed countries, these prices are outrageous. The average cost of a conventional delivery in Switzerland is $4,039, while in Britain it’s only $2,641. These countries have inclusive pregnancy care packages that offer high-quality, high-tech services to women without sacrificing the number of choices available to her including acupuncture, an epidural, and days of hospital recovery time.
On the other hand, the American way of charging for birth bills is item-by-item, adding up to an exorbitant cost. New mothers are often shocked and perplexed by such charges as the ambiguous “maternity supplies,” tests never performed, separate room and board charges for infants who slept with their mother, and $10 and $20 for gloves, ibuprofen, and bandages that continue to arrive months after delivery. Despite the increased cost, the United States still has one of the highest infant and maternal mortality rates in the developed world.
With women’s reproductive options, from birth control, to abortion, to giving birth affordably, on attack from all sides, it’s difficult to know where women are supposed to turn. And while pro-lifers are keen to extol the values of every life, they are curiously silent about what happens to cash-strapped families after birth.
By signing this petition, you will urge the government to pass legislation to cap the exorbitant costs of birth by lowering out-of-pocket costs for this necessary and natural process.
Dear Secretary Burwell,
With the recent attacks on women’s reproductive options from conservative companies, state governments, and courts across America, it’s difficult for women to know where to turn. Abortion centers are being closed and limited, contraception access is decided at the whim of employers, and the exorbitant costs of giving birth are only continuing to rise. I urge you to show women the respect that they deserve by demanding that insurance companies cap the out-of-pocket costs of maternity care.
In less than two decades, the cost of maternity care has tripled in the United States. What was once a small hospital fee now averages an out-of-pocket expense of almost $10,000 for a conventional delivery. Maternity care in the United States lags behind other developed countries in both its quality and cost. How is it that despite these exorbitant costs, the United States has one of the highest infant and maternal mortality rates in the developed world?
Please think about the incredible strength of American women – the sacrifices they are willing to make and their growing lack of reproductive choices. Demand that maternal care costs be lowered so that women and their families can ensure a financially stable and stress-free beginning to their child’s new life.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: gaborfejes via Pixabay