New Moms

Utah: Save Money by Denying Women Epidurals

| by Unnecesarean

From the Daily Herald:

Under the theory that perhaps thousands of Utah college students are having babies paid for by Medicaid that they could pay for themselves, one lawmaker has a plan: cut all elective epidurals and elective C-sections.

Sen. Dan Liljenquist, R-Bountiful, has vowed massive Medicaid reform in next year’s legislative session, and first on the list is people who may be freeloading. Medicaid pays for 15,000 births a year in Utah, a third of the total, Liljenquist says.

“Do we save some kid or make birth easier?” he said, noting that the waiting list for Medicaid in Utah just for the disabled has reached 4,400 people.

Liljenquist says the state could save millions. Epidurals, a shot given in the spine, are a common method of relieving pain during labor. At Utah Valley Regional Medical Center in Provo, 86 to 87 percent of women who deliver babies at the hospital get an epidural; studies show about 65 percent of births nationwide happen with an epidural.


Denying patients epidural anesthesia is a great way to put misogynistic, classist douchebaggery into action. Rich women will be able to afford paying for pain relief and poor and middle class women will not have access to it. It’s about as thoughtful a move as trying to force more women to breastfeed by making formula available by prescription only.

Dick Morris tried to scare the public last year into believing that the Obama administration had plans to force women to go through “natural childbirth”, telling Bill O’Reilly of The O’Reilly Factor that “right now the government is telling people, cut back on cesarean sections, go through natural childbirth. It’s a lower cost.” It never happened and neither will this.

Utah already has the nation’s lowest cesarean rate at 22.2 percent.