The Hidden Secret of the US Healthcare System
As the Affordable Care Act begins to take hold in the United States, a growing majority sentiment against it is taking hold. Many are calling for a return to their old health insurance mandates and care levels they have traditionally had. Yet when it comes to maternal care in the United States, the US is ranked #50 in maternal mortality ratios. With 49 other countries providing better maternal and infant care around the world, how can the US call itself a leader in providing quality care?
C-Section Rates Are At an All-Time High
Women receiving a cesarean section in the United States have risen each year over the past decade, resulting in an all-time high of nearly 33% of all pregnancies in the last year. Though the procedure does help to save lives, it also helps to increase the risks of maternal death. In areas where the C-section rates are about the 33% mark, all women have a 21% greater risk of suffering a catastrophic incident during their delivery. Taking better care of these women and their children must become a higher priority… they are the #1 reason for hospital admissions every year.
Nearly 34,000 Women Die Because of Childbirth
Not included in the mortality statistics is this fact: nearly 34,000 women almost lose their lives every year because of the standard of maternity care in the United States. Though that doesn’t seem like many, the reality is that nearly one woman suffers a near fatality because of her pregnancy every 15 minutes in the US, primarily due to the level of maternal care that she receives. For those that are in impoverished areas, all of these risks double.
African-American Women Are Up to 4x More Likely To Suffer Problems
When compared to white women, African-American women are at the greatest risk of all of suffering a catastrophic incident during childbirth. That risk is nearly four times that of white women, even when every other risk is equalized. What this means is that every member of the healthcare industry, from the insurance agencies to the doctors providing care and everyone in-between, must do a better job of reaching out to those who need care. As a society, the US must stand up and do something to help the most vulnerable.
That’s what the Affordable Care Act is intended to start doing. Rather than create a Darwinian society that demands the survival of the fittest, the emphasis should be on helping each person as they need help. That, unfortunately, will cost money.
What Can Be Done To Make Changes?
How can the US reach out to more women and improve maternity care? It starts with early education and early access to resources. Providing maternal care from the first moment a woman realizes she is pregnant can dramatically help create a healthy pregnancy. Some women may need help with counseling, addiction therapy, and other health resources to stabilize their pregnancies as well. Is there personal responsibility involved with these necessities? Certainly there is – but until those services are available, the US will remain ranked at #50 in terms of maternal care.