Parents on Twitter Share Sky-High Costs of Giving Birth in the US, Calling for Medicare for All

Parents on social media shared the hospital bills they faced after their children were born, remarking that winning the fight for Medicare for All would put American families’ delivery costs more in line with those in other developed countries, and garnering the support Tuesday of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Bernie Sanders.

Washington Post columnist Elizabeth Bruenig tweeted a photo of her hospital bill months after giving birth to her second child. With insurance coverage, her bill for a vaginal delivery came to nearly $8,000.

Bruenig wrote that she planned to save her bills “to show my kids what life was like before Medicare for All, and why we fought so hard to give them a better country.”

Bruenig’s tweet went viral two days after science journalist Dave Mosher tweeted his family’s own hospital bill, showing that a standard vaginal delivery with no complications or anesthesia had resulted in total charges of $27,000 for Mosher and his partner and a separate $27,000 bill for the healthy baby.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) wrote on Twitter as the discussion brewed on Tuesday that the cost of starting a family is just one of the economic reasons young people are having fewer children—or forgoing a family altogether.

A survey published last year by the New York Times found that young Americans’ reasons for having fewer children were largely related to finances.

Sixty-four percent of respondents said child care was too expensive for them to afford, 44 percent said they couldn’t afford more or any children for various reasons.


Despite pushing policies which actively make raising a family untenable for many families—including slashing children’s health insurance funding and promoting a so-called “paid family leave” plan which would allow new parents time off work only by drawing from their Social Security benefits—Republicans including former House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) have frequently called on Americans to have more children.

In response to Bruenig’s tweet on Tuesday, many other parents shared their own post-delivery hospital bills, with some showing costs in the tens of thousands for their newborns’ hospital stays, Caesarean sections, and medically necessary inductions.

“Medicare for All can’t come soon enough!” wrote one user.

Hours after Bruenig’s tweet went viral, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) tweeted that under his Medicare for All plan, the average cost of childbirth for families would go from $32,000 to zero dollars.

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