Pharos-Tribune

Local News

November 4, 2013

'This is about reducing heartache'

Governor opens first infant mortality summit

(Continued)

Lakey said Texas state legislators were persuaded to restore the funding in part by an economic argument, since 57 percent of all births in Texas are paid for by Medicaid. He said the average cost to Medicaid for a prematurely born baby is $71,000 compared to $420 for a full-term infant.

One major change approved by the Texas legislature that Lakey credits for helping bring down the number of infant deaths: It ordered the Texas' Medicaid program to stop reimbursing doctors for early elective deliveries — births that were induced early for convenience and without a medical reason. Up until then, 1 out of every 4 births in Texas was an early elective delivery.

Lakey advised summit attendees to get momentum for their cause by appealing to Indiana state lawmakers: “You have to have one of those causes, that when legislators comes back to their communities after the session, they can feel proud that they attacked something important for their constituents.”

“You have to have a noble cause,” he continued. “And I don’t think there is a cause that can line folks up better than to talk about increasing the chances that every baby born in your state will have a healthy, happy first birthday. Who can argue that’s not a role government should play, that every baby has a healthy happy first birthday?”

Maureen Hayden covers the Statehouse for the CNHI newspapers in Indiana. She can be reached at maureen.hayden@indianamediagroup.com.

Cass County infant mortality 9.9 infant deaths per 1,000 live births (2001-2010) Fourth highest rate in the state 20.4 percent of mothers reported smoking during pregnancy

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