I want to write about the costs of prematurity to society, and about efforts to reduce those costs. As I search around on Google, a commonly cited study is Preterm Birth: Causes, Consequences and Prevention, Edited by Richard E Behrman and Adrienne Stith Butler, available from the National Institutes of Health site. I think I am going to be reading this study for a while, but a few tidbits I’ve learned so far are:
- 40 percent of costs associated with pre-term birth are paid for by Medicaid.
- Preemies under 28 weeks of gestational age account for one-third of the overall cost of premature baby care, but consist of only 6 percent of the population of preemies
- In the 1980s, several government programs expanded their coverage of low-income women, thinking that better prenatal care could reduce pre-term births. This has not not seemed to work.
- Overall, the authors estimate that preterm birth costs U.S. society $26 billion per year.
It doth go on. Writing is lonely work, especially when you wonder if you’re barking up the wrong tree. But, blogging is a nice way to keep in touch with the outside world. 🙂