Maternity: Not an Insurable Risk

I sincerely don’t think maternity benefits should be covered by insurance, because the nature of maternity goes against the way insurance is built.

I’m not saying I don’t want maternity care; I’m saying that the nature of maternity care – that you have some reasonable amount of control over when you get pregnant, and stand to gain a great deal by deliberately making it happen – makes it something that goes against the nature of insurance, because it isn’t an “insurable risk”.  Insurance is for things that happen randomly and are largely out of your control, and maternity care fails to meet that criteria.  In short, that’s just not the kind of thing that insurance pays for.

Maternity (and parenthood in general) are of great interest to the public and the government (which needs future citizens to continue existing).  I know the United States prefers the tried-and-true “steal the best” method of recruiting talent, but eventually people are going to realize that coming to America is condemning your children’s children, because there’s no collective investment in their future.

There is a legitimate desire to have women have the healthcare benefits needed for maternity.  My biggest complaint is that this responsibility is being foisted onto insurance companies that are literally not designed to take care of that sort of thing; this kind of public good is what government is supposedly for.  For insurance, it makes more sense to cover infertility treatment (a medical problem beyond your control) rather than maternity (which people have a strong influence over).  I think maternity should be covered by a general government program that all citizens qualify for automatically when they need it.

I do believe the United States takes great pride in the idea that a person should not be condemned by the circumstances of their birth, and that everyone deserves to be free.  The reason we have a public education system is to make sure that nobody should be condemned to poverty by their family’s ability to provide education, and I think that maternity care falls into that same general good of assuring everyone life, liberty, and the chance to pursue happiness.

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