In a Louisville Courier Journal news article about premature births in Kentucky, Sen. Denise Harper Angel said the following:
“Everything we can do to invest in healthy babies results in healthy adults and less cost to health care,” she said.
This is demonstrably false.
The article was inspired by a March of Dimes study finding one-third of pregnant women in Kentucky smoke cigarettes. Recommendations included expanding government-run health insurance and paying for smoking cessation programs.
Let’s say we were to expand state-run health insurance for pregnant women who smoke. The increased taxpayer liability is certain to cost us more than it does now.
A real-world example is illustrative: according to ehealthinsurance.com, not one health insurer in Kentucky’s individual health insurance market offers maternity coverage for women who smoke. If the big insurers — whose job it is to assess and price risk — don’t want to play that game, why should taxpayers?
Maybe we should invest in U-Haul trucks and road maps to New York and send our pregnant smokers out of the state. That would certainly be cheaper.