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Two weeks in bed: $75,000
Two weeks in bed: $75,000

Million Dollar Babies. Nope, it has nothing to do with Clint Eastwood’s movie. It’s just the tale of a normal middle-class American family with a pair of kids who were born a bit too early.

We received Merritt’s bill for her first two weeks of bed rest at the hospital: $75,000. That’s more than $5,300 per day — $5,100 for the bed and $200 for miscellaneous stuff (like the $15 vitamin pill or the cheerful Nursing Consultant who stops by the room, introduces herself as “Hi, my name is Sally and I’ll explain you how to nurse your baby”, then stays 10 minutes and bills $85 for the service).

But Merritt stayed 3 1/2 weeks, so the total for the bed rest should be $130,000.
Add the costs of a C-section, $30,000, and her total is $160,000.

Now if the room where Merritt was vaguely monitored already costs 5 grands a day, how much can it be for the kiddos? We took a bet, then asked a nurse and, lo and behold, the result came in at $10,000 a day. Each, of course.

Max & Manu were born at 29 1/2 weeks and a good guess is that they’ll stay 6 weeks in the Newborn Intensive Care Unit. Total: 6 weeks * 7 days per week * $10,000 per day * 2 babies = $840,000.

So the Grand Total to bring our two precious little people on an already crowded planet is $160,000 + $840,000. And that’s….

Merritt and I got the Million Dollar Babies!!!
and we can assure you that we already love them so much more than that…
- - - - - - - -


Fortunately, all that will be taken care of by Merritt’s insurance (fair deal, these babies are her idea anyhow - you know, women…), a public insurance which comes from the State of California and allows her to choose her doctor.

Now imagine if a programmer like me, covered by Kaiser (a private insurance that’s rated as average in terms of actual care but the best in California in terms of coverage), decided to extend his coverage to his wife and his kids… How much would that cost him? Between $800 and $1,000 per month of premiums, plus $7,000 dollars a year of out-of-pocket expenses. Total: up to $19,000 dollars a year. And he would not even be free to go see the best doctors in town, he’d be stuck with the doctors who are employed by the same company that insures his health (a bit as if your car insurance company was employing an army of auto-mechanics to maximize their profits). Yuck!

And what does happen if the programmer can’t fork out 20 grands annually for health care? Easy: he gets the bill for one million. Why Americans don’t want a health system that’s organized by physicians and ran by the public rather than exploited by the corporate boards of private companies, it’s beyond me…

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    Now I no longer think that my 5 day hospital stay (which included labor induction, midwives, c-section, and recovery in the mother-baby unit) cost of $26,000 is a lot! You can just add that cost to Max and Manu’s bill of life, and present it to them when they leave for college ;)

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