The Post-Partum Mandate

Estimated Costs and Benefits

by Jesse D. Malkin

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During the past two decades, America's health care market has undergone a radical transformation. Many purchasers of health insurance, squeezed by rising health costs, have swithed from fee-for-service health insurance to managed care plans (i.e., plans that attempt to contain costs by controlling the provision of services). The rise of managed care coincided with a dramatic reduction in the average length of potpartum stays. In 1970, the average postpartum length of stay for vaginal deliveries in the United States was 3.9 days; the comparable rate in 1993 was 2.0 days. In a survey undertaken in 1995, half of all new mothers who had vaginal deliveries said they were discharged in one day or less. The primary research objective of this dissertation is to shed light on the health benefits and resource costs of increasing the length of postpartum stays.

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