During his Saturday radio address (5-11), President Clinton asked Congress to pass legislation that would require insurance companies to pay for 48-hour hospital stays for women and their newborn babies. Currently, many insurance companies refuse to pay for stays beyond 24 hours, and some recommend releasing women only eight hours after delivery. Mothers who giving birth by Cesarean section would stay in the hospital for 96 hours under Clinton’s proposal instead of the average of 72 hours.
Clinton cited Senate testimony of cases in which babies died after being discharged 24 hours after delivery. Doctors say early discharges result in increased numbers of parents and infants returning to the hospital because of medical complications that initially went undetected during their short stays. Clinton encouraged other insurance companies to follow the lead of insurers such as Blue Cross and Blue Shield Plans of Pennsylvania which offer 48-hour minimum coverage.