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Mummy State

The Independent of the UK reports (“Childbirth revolution“) that the British government is “planning a ‘strategic shift’ in childbirth policy away from hospital delivery and towards births in the home.” Instead of having doctors supervise the birth, midwives will deliver the child.

On one hand, I commend the British government for this policy change. The majority of births need not occur in a hospital setting; the new policy is much more cost effective. A market pricing mechanism, however, would be a more efficient means for determining the hospital-home decision. If the patient paid the full cost, only those with a high demand for hospital services would choose that option since home delivery would be cheaper. In an environment with private or public insurance, the insurance could cover the cost of a home birth, but if the mother wanted a hospital birth they could to pay extra. Having the government dictate where you have to give birth to your child is just one of the costs of having healthcare run by a centralized government.