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Free Breast Pumps And The Cost Of Health Care
Old 01-26-2013, 02:35 PM   #1
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Free Breast Pumps And The Cost Of Health Care

Not sure how a free breast pump will make new moms more healthy. But it will make Yummy Mummy have a better bottom line. My Q is~Can it be converted/adapted for male use?




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Health insurance plans now have to cover the full cost of breast pumps for nursing mothers. This is the result of a provision in the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare), and the new rule took effect for many people at the start of this year.
It's led to a boom in the sale of the pumps, which can cost hundreds of dollars.
Yummy Mummy, a little boutique on New York's Upper East Side, has suddenly become a health care provider/online superstore. The company has been hiring like crazy, and just opened an online call center and a warehouse in Illinois. Yummy Mummy even hired somebody to talk to customers' health insurance companies.
Free Breast Pumps And The Cost Of Health Care : Planet Money : NPR
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Old 01-26-2013, 04:07 PM   #2
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OK, I may have ER'd, but I'm still a fully licensed Neonatologist, and I want to weigh in on this one. Did you know that

1. Having an electric breast pump and using it frequently significantly increases the chances that a baby will be successfully breastfed for longer?
2. Babies who are exclusively breastfeeding have better outcomes in many different areas, from growth and development, to avoiding infections and allergies, to improved intelligence?
3. Breastfeeding babies are less likely to be hospitalized in the first year of life?
4. Evidence is accumulating that breastfed babies are less likely to become obese and to develop cardiovascular disease in adulthood?
5. Making breast pumps easily available to mothers is an important component of implementation of the Breastfeeding Friendly Initiative, initially developed with the World Health Organization and endorsed by many professional bodies internationally?

I have a lot of professional experience in this area and I can attest to the fact that when mothers of smaller, sicker babies do not have access to a good breast pump (which they need to use as frequently as every 2-3 hours) their babies lose out. Big time.

Here is some information on breastfeeding (disclosure: I am a member of CPS):

The Baby-Friendly Initiative: Protecting, promoting and supporting breastfeeding | Position statements and practice points | Canadian Paediatric Society

So the bottom line is that this initiative has nothing to do with making mothers more healthy (although breastfeeding does seem to be associated with a reduced rate of breast cancer), nor is it about male gratification, or the profits of a manufacturer. It is sound, evidence-based, cost-effective health care policy for America's children.
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Old 01-26-2013, 04:16 PM   #3
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OK, I may have ER'd, but I'm still a fully licensed Neonatologist, and I want to weigh in on this one. Did you know that

1. Having an electric breast pump and using it frequently significantly increases the chances that a baby will be successfully breastfed for longer?
2. Babies who are exclusively breastfeeding have better outcomes in many different areas, from growth and development, to avoiding infections and allergies, to improved intelligence?
3. Breastfeeding babies are less likely to be hospitalized in the first year of life?
4. Evidence is accumulating that breastfed babies are less likely to become obese and to develop cardiovascular disease in adulthood?
5. Making breast pumps easily available to mothers is an important component of implementation of the Breastfeeding Friendly Initiative, initially developed with the World Health Organization and endorsed by many professional bodies internationally?

I have a lot of professional experience in this area and I can attest to the fact that when mothers of smaller, sicker babies do not have access to a good breast pump (which they need to use as frequently as every 2-3 hours) their babies lose out. Big time.

Here is some information on breastfeeding (disclosure: I am a member of CPS):

The Baby-Friendly Initiative: Protecting, promoting and supporting breastfeeding | Position statements and practice points | Canadian Paediatric Society

So the bottom line is that this initiative has nothing to do with making mothers more healthy (although breastfeeding does seem to be associated with a reduced rate of breast cancer), nor is it about male gratification, or the profits of a manufacturer. It is sound, evidence-based, cost-effective health care policy for America's children.
Thanks for this testimonial. My former wife was a La Leche leader, and the families that tried to succeed at breast feeding seemd to have very healthy children, and also very nice families.

Ha
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Old 01-26-2013, 06:10 PM   #4
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I appreciate all the info about the benefits of breast feeding and the benefits of having a pump for women who are breast feeding. But the original article was pretty unclear about what was being included in the insurance. It did say "Weird things happen when you take price out of the equation for consumers." and also that insurers may be covering more than basic models. Or call it a "good" pump and decide how you define good. But many pumps are so fancy (and expensive) that they are full of features that probably should not be part of a mandate. There's a big difference between saying that good (or even basic) breast pumps should be provided as part of insurance benefits and saying ANY breast pump must be provided as part of insurance benefits.

There's big business to be had in "qualifying" people for medical products that they wouldn't otherwise have bought for themselves and making sure insurance or government programs provide the reimbursements. I hope someone will be working to figure out how to minimize the waste and fraud possible with this new mandate.
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Old 01-26-2013, 06:30 PM   #5
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There is indeed a lot of mone to be made as a supplier of this sort of thing. One of the most profitable investments I ever made was in a supplier of diabetes supplies to Medicare beneficiaries. That said, it wasn't hard for the diabetes supply company to demonstrate that what they did was hugely cost effective for Medicare, and no doubt the breast pump suppliers will be able to make the same case.

In any case, OP probably does not really want to open this can of worms, or we can start talking about insurer coverage of stuff like Viagra.
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Old 01-26-2013, 07:23 PM   #6
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In any case, OP probably does not really want to open this can of worms, or we can start talking about insurer coverage of stuff like Viagra.
Or male circumcision.
Or coronary artery bypass grafts.
Or transplants.
Etc, etc. Let's not go there, or we will get bogged down in another political healthcare insurance debate.
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Old 01-26-2013, 07:33 PM   #7
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Indeed, let's not.
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Old 01-27-2013, 12:43 AM   #8
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No, sorry. I didn't mean to start a political debate. I do think there is a lot of waste in the system, and worry this will be another "durable medical equipment" boondoggle, no matter how useful and effective the equipment is. I have some insurance covered medical equipment that has parts on a 6 week replacement schedule, but I've found I can do the replacements on a 18 month schedule with no discernible wear or problems. As an experiment, I once went 4 years before replacing the "expendable" parts and everything still worked fine, although they were finally showing some signs of wear.

Our local high school is raising $2500 to buy a set of reference books. Shopping online I found very good used sets for $150. Now, if the books are going to be in a library, used by high school students, I would be inclined to spend $150 and put the rest of the money to other books. But I suspect the school won't do it that way, since they have a new "service" from a local book distributor that does all the recommending and ordering for them.

I'm not trying to start a political discussion, just making the observation that the kinds of frugal decision making that went into my LBYM doesn't seem to happen in many situations where other people are indirectly making spending decisions on money that isn't theirs. People designing systems should be aware of and plan to account for, and control, those kinds of problems as much as they can.
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Old 01-27-2013, 06:42 AM   #9
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Or male circumcision.
Or coronary artery bypass grafts.
Or transplants.
Etc, etc. Let's not go there, or we will get bogged down in another political healthcare insurance debate.
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Old 01-27-2013, 08:04 AM   #10
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Indeed, let's not.
+1
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Old 01-27-2013, 08:14 AM   #11
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The title itself beckons Porky. It's not about the merits of the device...
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Old 01-27-2013, 11:56 AM   #12
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Clearly understood: Breast milk is best for babies. No doubt. This is common knowledge. Now, lets move on

Does this device address an illness or medical deficiency? Maybe, if the child cannot be fed by breast for some reason (and there are several). Other than that particular medical issue, I'm not clear on why this device should be covered by medical insurance. Does medical insurance cover infant formula or other nutritional requirements of healthy babies with healthy mothers? Food for teenagers?

This program is not just for indigent women, it pays for breast pumps costing several hundred dollars (with European plugs!) for well-off women (and others) using money taken from people with very little money (and others). When people pay their own money they will buy more sensible models of these types of devices.
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Old 01-27-2013, 02:01 PM   #13
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Does this device address an illness or medical deficiency? Maybe, if the child cannot be fed by breast for some reason (and there are several).
It allows mothers with nursing babies to return to the workforce, so that they can continue to bring in income (and pay for that baby and its medical insurance coverage, along with payroll taxes). Working mothers typically have to place the baby in day care while working, and the expressed milk is used to continue breast feeding (with its attendant benefits) rather than forcing a switch to formula.

It's important for mothers to have babies, as those babies will eventually grow up and pay payroll taxes to help cover your Medicare and Social Security, and some may even become workers in the expanding elder care industry. Somebody has to wipe our chins and empty the drool cups...
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Old 01-27-2013, 02:19 PM   #14
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Makes me wonder if the next item to get coverage will be disposable diapers cuz we all know that if you change your baby on a regular basis they won't need emergency care for that diaper rash caused by sitting in piss and shiz.
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Old 01-27-2013, 02:26 PM   #15
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It allows mothers with nursing babies to return to the workforce, so that they can continue to bring in income (and pay for that baby and its medical insurance coverage, along with payroll taxes). Working mothers typically have to place the baby in day care while working, and the expressed milk is used to continue breast feeding (with its attendant benefits) rather than forcing a switch to formula.
Oh, no doubt. Very handy indeed. A bargain at twice the price. Super. Convenient, good for the budget of the family, good for the workforce. Splendid in a million ways. As much utility as an umbrella. But neither it nor an umbrella is a medical device, and neither should be covered by health insurance.
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Old 01-27-2013, 02:28 PM   #16
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It allows mothers with nursing babies to return to the workforce, so that they can continue to bring in income (and pay for that baby and its medical insurance coverage, along with payroll taxes). Working mothers typically have to place the baby in day care while working, and the expressed milk is used to continue breast feeding (with its attendant benefits) rather than forcing a switch to formula.

It's important for mothers to have babies, as those babies will eventually grow up and pay payroll taxes to help cover your Medicare and Social Security, and some may even become workers in the expanding elder care industry. Somebody has to wipe our chins and empty the drool cups...
+1

In addition when my children were infants in the 1970's, the formula manufacturers had a tremendous advertising campaign to convince parents of the "advantages" of using formula.

My DW was a full-time stay at home mom. She breast fed both of our children until they weaned themselves naturally. That is, until they could eat solid food from a spoon and drink from a cup.

She did not need a breast pump or baby bottles.
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Old 01-27-2013, 02:47 PM   #17
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Hopefully we can soon mandate insurance for "things that we all think everyone should have, but which don't cure illness".
It's been pointed out to my family that we've been taking excessive advantage of the system with these three items as well:

1) Prosthetics are much more expensive than cheap wheelchairs, so there's an opportunity.

2) And folks with dentures should consider the savings in just buying a blender instead, as switching to pureed Philly cheesesteaks doesn't impact one's life.

3) And what's with permitting people to get 200 catheters a month? Just get one and re-use it over and over.

None of these things cure illness either, but they do improve quality of life.

Now, I realize it's hard to put a dollars and cents value on quality of life issues, so here's a little experiment you can try. Find a veteran wearing a pair of C-legs. Tell him he's a moocher and looter for not settling for a wheelchair that would cost 1 percent of what his legs cost. When you are later recovered and discharged from hospital, total up your medical bills. I'd call that a good approximation.

Quality of life is actually important to us moochers and looters.
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Old 01-27-2013, 02:52 PM   #18
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It's been pointed out to my family that we've been taking excessive advantage of the system with these three items as well:

1) Prosthetics are much more expensive than cheap wheelchairs, so there's an opportunity.

2) And folks with dentures should consider the savings in just buying a blender instead, as switching to pureed Philly cheesesteaks doesn't impact one's life.

3) And what's with permitting people to get 200 catheters a month? Just get one and re-use it over and over.

None of these things cure illness either, but they do improve quality of life.

Now, I realize it's hard to put a dollars and cents value on quality of life issues, so here's a little experiment you can try. Find a veteran wearing a pair of C-legs. Tell him he's a moocher and looter for not settling for a wheelchair that would cost 1 percent of what his legs cost. When you are later recovered and discharged from hospital, total up your medical bills. I'd call that a good approximation.

Quality of life is actually important to us moochers and looters.
+1. Well put M Paquette.
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Old 01-27-2013, 02:54 PM   #19
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I would classify expressing human breast milk as a medical procedure and a breast pump as medical equipment.

Those mooching babies!
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Old 01-27-2013, 02:54 PM   #20
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It's been pointed out to my family that we've been taking excessive advantage of the system with these three items as well
Oops, sorry, edited my post after you clipped it.
Yep, prosthetic and dentures all address a medical deficit. We agree.

Why are medical insurance costs skyrocketing: Ladies and gentlemen, I give you exhibit A, the multi-hundred dollar taxpayer breastpump. Doesn't treat an illness, but it is very convenient. Every mother gets one. Today's answer to the thousand dollar Pentagon toilet seat.

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