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The average sticker price for U.S. childbirth: $32,093

The U.S. is the most expensive country in the world to give birth. But most hospitals won’t tell patients how much delivery and care costs until after the baby is born.

Why it matters: The average sticker price for childbirth in the U.S. is $32,093, and even insurance doesn’t take care of all of it. Hospitals can charge whatever they want for services, often leaving patients with a confusing list of items on the bill. For Dr. Renee Hsia, an emergency department physician and lead author of a study on California women giving birth, childbirth prices reflect the larger health care system — where high prices are “more the rule than the exception.”

The youngest victims of the opioid epidemic

Every 15 minutes, a baby is born dependent on opioids. In Baltimore, doctors at Mt. Washington Pediatric Hospital say babies born with Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome — a set of conditions caused by withdrawal from exposure to drugs — now account for 25% of the hospital’s admissions.

Why it matters: Nationally, the number of babies born with the syndrome has increased by over 400 percent since 2004. For Baltimore Health Commissioner Dr. Leana Wen, the community must first recognize addiction as a disease to address the larger trend of the opioid epidemic. But as drug-related deaths continue to increase, the future remains uncertain.

Editor's note: This post has been corrected to show that babies are born with opioid dependence, not addiction.