Opinion: The $70 birth bill

Newborns diagnosed with neonatal avoidance syndrome are ecstatic to East Tennessee Children's sanatorium for treatment.

Editor’s note: CNN Contributor Bob Greene is a bestselling author whose 25 books embody “Late Edition: A Love Story”; “Chevrolet Summers, Dairy Queen Nights”; and “When We Get to Surf City: A Journey Through America in Pursuit of Rock and Roll, Friendship, and Dreams.”

(CNN) — Seventy dollars.

Gary Bender had problem desiring what was right before his eyes.

Bender, an accountant who lives in Irvine, California, was looking during a sanatorium check he had found while going by a security of his late mother, Sylvia.

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“I’m kind of a family historian,” he told me. “I keep things.”

What he was looking during was a check for his possess birth, in 1947.

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The check had been mailed to his relatives after they, and he, had left Grant Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, in May of that year.

The grand sum for his mother’s six-day stay during Grant, for a use of a handling room, for his days in a nursery, for a several medicines and lab work — for all aspects of his birth — was $70.

“It done me think, ‘How did we get from that, to where we are today?’” Bender said.

He was referring to a mountainous costs of health caring in a United States. For all a contention of how out of palm a cost of medical diagnosis has become, somehow that one aged square of paper put a theme in crook concentration for Bender than all a millions of difference in news accounts examining a topic.

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“It can’t only be inflation, can it?” he asked.

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No, it can’t. According to a U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, $70 in 1947 would be homogeneous to $726 in 2012 dollars.

Does it cost $726 for a sanatorium stay to broach a baby these days?

Dream on.

According to a 2011 report from a American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), a cost for a sanatorium stay, including medicine fees, for a required birth with no complications was a small over $11,000 in 2008, a many new year a news covered. For a birth involving a Caesarean section, a cost was around $19,000.

(While five- or six-day sanatorium stays were hackneyed for mothers and newborns in a 1940s, currently they customarily leave a sanatorium within 48 hours of birth — so a aloft costs are for shorter stays.)

At Grant Hospital in Columbus — now called Grant Medical Center — a mouthpiece told me that a normal cost for carrying a baby is around $15,000.

So what accurately has happened, for costs to arise so astronomically?

A lot of things, conspicuous Dr. Gary Hankins of a University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, a former chair of ACOG’s obstetric use committee. The record accessible to keep mothers and babies protected is light years private from what was accessible in 1947, he said, and “regrettably, a record is expensive.”

He conspicuous that in roughly each way, new mothers and their babies are softened off now than they were 65 years ago. The antibiotics that have been grown to quarrel infections, a softened surgical procedures, a worldly anesthesia, a rarely accurate electronic fetal monitors and other medical machine — all yield advantages for mom and child that did not exist in 1947.

Medical malpractice word premiums figure into a high cost of birth today, he said. And there are some physicians who doubt either all procedures that are frequently performed, augmenting costs, are customarily necessary. But for all a disappointment that patients feel about a cost of medical care, one fact is indisputable:

The rate of tot mortality, and a rate of mankind for new mothers, has plummeted, conspicuous Hankins. In 1950 scarcely 30 infants out of 1,000 died during or shortly after birth; in 2009, that series was 6.4 out of 1,000, according to a ACOG report. It might be some-more costly to give birth to a child today, though both a mom and child, if there is difficulty during delivery, have a most softened possibility of presence than they once did.

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At Grant, where Gary Bender was born, Dr. Michael Sprague, medical executive of women’s health, told me that “infection, blood clots, hemorrhage — a ability to diagnose and provide all of these” is extremely softened today. “You never know who that studious is going to be,” Sprague conspicuous — a mom or baby who unexpected requires all a resources a sanatorium maintains, during good expense, to save lives during delivery.

I sent copies of Gary Bender’s birth check to Hankins and Sprague. Both were vacant during a particulars:

The sanatorium room assign for Sylvia Bender was $7 per day, for 6 days. The cost for Gary to stay in a hothouse was $2 per day. The prosaic rate for maternity use was $15.

Grant Hospital, by a way, was not an anomaly; a 1947 leaflet from Santa Monica Hospital in California, to use one example, listed a identical cost structure for carrying a baby: $17.50 for maternity service, $2 per day for a nursery, an additional $15 if a birth was by cesarean section.

And Gary Bender, who came into this universe for $70?

He told me that final year, a cost of a health word he and his employer pointer adult for, covering him and his wife, was in additional of $18,000 — and that was before a singular revisit to a physician, and before a singular medication was filled.

“It only astonishes me that in a lifetime, we have seen such extremes in medical costs,” conspicuous Bender, who was one of some-more than 3.8 million American babies innate in 1947.

And who — with that aged sanatorium check still in palm — lived to tell a tale.

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The opinions voiced in this explanation are only those of Bob Greene.

Source: Health Medicine Network