Have That Home Birth On The Insurance Company’s Tab

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Ladies who want a midwife at their side during labor just got some good news in the rural state of Vermont. Governor Peter Shumlin signed into law today a new bill that requires private insurance companies to foot the bill for midwife services. Several other states have acquired similar laws recognizing that women want different birthing experiences. Mothers can now save a little money without compromising on the type of birth that they want.

As this article points out, many women who prefer home births often times cannot afford them despite home births costing less. Insurance companies won’t cover the cost unless it happens in a conventional hospital. But I was particularly struck by this quote from Gary Hughes, a spokesman for MVP Health Care, who opposed the bill. Mr. Hughes said:

This has the potential in some instances that the patients might not get the right care, in the right time, in the right setting.

While that may be true for some home births, the same argument can be made for hospital-assisted births. Just because a pregnant lady is escorted into stirrups doesn’t guarantee a healthy or safe delivery as evidenced by our doubling mortality rate and the increasing complications from unnecessary c-sections.

Most pregnancies are inherently low-risk in the United States and the midwives included on this Vermont bill are licensed professionals — prepped to understand a woman’s individual needs during birth. If the health of women is a priority to Mr. Hughes, I suggest he review the current US track record as it pertains to birthing in hospitals.