Healthcare Economics: Abortion Funding

University of South Alabama Funding of Abortions The Supreme Court Judgment in Roe v. Wade, (1973) struck down the crystallization of abortion in the United States, and therefore guaranteed the right of the woman to choose legal abortion. With this landmark decision came the burden of funding for the numerous abortions that takes place in the United States yearly. Federal funding of abortions in the United States has been premised upon medical necessity and income level of the pregnant woman. Individuals pay for abortions that are not deemed legal.

Because abortion rate is still significantly high, its funding has economic implications for women and the nation as a whole. This paper discusses in details the funding of abortion. It highlights the cost of abortion to the woman and her family, and describes federal funding of abortions within the context of the law of the land. Before Roe v Wade, women who needed abortion services paid huge fees and patronized mostly unlicensed personnel (National Abortion Federation [NAP], 2003). Following the legalization of abortion, the abortion landscape became open and a “moral hazard” (Mason, Elevate & Chaffed, 2012) ensued.

This led to more abortion expenditures on the part of the individual and government. In the three years following the legalization of abortion, majority of the legal abortions for low- income women was borne by the government through Medicaid (Kaiser Family Foundation, [KEF], 2009). For abortions that were funded individually, cost and safety became the main determinant factors. High-income women have been able to get abortion services paying out-of-pocket, but the poorer ones have had difficulty accessing these kinds of services, especially in situations where government funding is unavailable.

Today, the federal government funds abortions only in cases of rapes, incest and life endangerment of the mother (NAP, 2003). Beneath these abortion- funding restrictions lies the conundrum of spending limited resources to secure unlimited good. This is true in the United States healthcare industry, a sector Healthcare Economics: Abortion Funding By deadening developed country (KEF, 2009). Major stakeholders are the women, who are the recipients in abortion procedures. Poorer women rely solely on public funding of abortion.

In cases where abortion could not be gotten through public funding, these women may have to sacrifice true ambitions to procure abortion. The society should be concerned about abortion funding because taxpayers foot the bill. Abortions are performed in healthcare facilities and so abortion physicians are on the supply end of the abortion economics. Furthermore, the United States government should be concerned because they enact and implements abortion-related funding policies. The cost of abortion may be very significant, depending on the age of the pregnancy.

Abortion procedures may cost an average of $350 within the first-trimester and over $1, 200 for late stage pregnancies (Baboon’s and Confined, 2000). Even though the cost of abortion fees has risen less than inflation trends, it is nevertheless, out of reach for poorer women and women of color (NAP, 2003). According to a study by Jones, Payday and White (2013), it was observed that 36% of women who sought abortion did not have health insurance and 69% paid out of pocket. The study further found that out of the women who could not utilize insurance for the cost of abortion; over half reported that they had difficulty paying.

Overall, poorer women delay in getting the abortion they want and as a result put themselves at economic and health risks (Baboon’s, 2007). The laws guiding public funding of abortions vary from state to state but essentially, funding for abortion has been through the Medicaid, program designed for low- income people. At the least, states are required to fund abortion under the current Hyde Amendment, which allows using Medicaid funding for abortion only in cases of rape, incest and life endangerment to the life of the mother (Gatherers Institute [GIG], 2013).

South Dakota is the only state that violates this proviso, paying for abortion only when the mother’s life is endangered. Seventeen states with nonrestrictive abortion laws go above abortions rescinded by federal (NAP, 2003). Under the Joint federal-state Medicaid program, states are refunded the amount spent on abortions at the standard Medicaid reimbursement rate (GIG, 2008). The federal and state government spent about $90 million in 2006 with the state government responsible for more than 99% of the amount (Consoled, Alright, & Gold, 2008).

An overwhelming majority of these government funded abortion were in states with somewhat liberal abortion stance (Confined, Alright, & Gold, 2008). According to Kaiser Family Foundation (2010), 4. 6 million of reproductive-age women in 33 states that have restrictive abortion laws are thin 138% of the federal poverty line (PL). Thus, these women will meet the eligibility criteria for Medicaid under the 2010 healthcare reform law. People on both sides of the ideological divide.

Whilst there is a consensus that abortion should be allowed in certain cases, the poorer demographics of the American society has found it difficult to access abortion services because of cost. The reality on the ground is that poorer women need abortion but can’t get help from the government. These unwanted pregnancies have serious economic consequences for the women involved. Women who are denied state help end up having riskier ate-stage abortions. Consequently, they negatively impact the healthcare industry because they end up putting more strain on existing nursing resources.

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