In 2011, the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System, Arizona's Medicaid program, paid for 53 percent of the state's 84,979 births, while private insurance paid for 42 percent, according to state statistics. The remainder were paid for by individuals....
Sen. Sylvia Allen, R-Snowflake, estimated that including pre- and postnatal care, it costs Arizona about $7,500 per birth for a delivery with no complications. Using those estimates, the 2011 deliveries would have cost Arizona taxpayers nearly $338 million....
In 2010, 58 percent [of Arizonans] had private insurance and 18 percent were on Medicaid.
So, 18% of Arizonans are having 53% of all births. Another way to put this is that the 18% of people who get this procedure from the government for free account for half the demand, despite the fact that these folks are the ones who, if rational, should be the least likely to have a lot of births because they presumably have the most difficulty affording an extra mouth to feed.
God forbid I start sounding like some crotchity Conservative, but I continue to be amazed that pregnancy is treated as an "emergency procedure." It strikes me that unlike, say, cancer, individuals can choose to avoid this condition fairly easily if they can't afford it. I certainly know my wife and I put FAR more deliberation into having children than we did any other decision in our lives. There is a terrible tension here - no one wants to turn away an expectant mother and endanger her child, but freely giving away an expensive procedure without any sort of restrictions nearly begs for a baby boom. Those who try to argue that Obamacare won't increase health care expenses (in other words, arguing that demand curves don't upward) only have to look at these numbers.
PS- Apparently, our state legislature is appalled by these numbers. This is the same legislature that has proposed about a zillion abortion restrictions over the last year. It will be interesting to see if fiscal issues change anyone's thinking on the abortion issue now that there is suddenly a $7500+ incentive to allow an abortion.
Update -- Thinking about this, I think the 18%/53% comparison is directionally correct but the difference is exaggerated due to Medicare. I doubt Medicare delivers many babies, but a large part of the AZ population is on Medicare. If the numbers were reset to show the percentage of Arizonans of child-rearing age on Medicaid, the number would be north of 18% but likely well below 53%.