Rolling your eyes at all the pomp and fuss surrounding the newest prince in Britain? Well, dear American, allow New York Times reporter Elisabeth Rosenthal to temper the condescension with one eye-opening tweet: “British royal born in fanciest ward: $15000. Average US birth: billed $30,000; paid $18,000. What’s wrong here?” Sadly, Rosenthal's numbers are correct, writes Sy Mukherjee at ThinkProgress. And what's worse, not only are American births absurdly expensive—even after insurance—women here still receive care below the standards of many industrialized nations.
"The biggest reason for this disparity is the American medical culture, in which doctors have a perverse incentive to perform as many procedures as possible since they can bill for each test and treatment," writes Mukherjee. (Rosenthal laid out the problem in an earlier story in the Times.) Technology is a great thing, but not when it's used for the sole purpose of jacking up hospital bills. And despite those bills, US newborns have a worse mortality rate than babies in other first-world countries. So laugh all you want at the royals, but know that they paid less to have their baby delivered than many ordinary Americans—and they got better care to boot. Click for the full column. (Read more childbirth stories.)