Today, the National Partnership for Women & Families released a new report which finds that national paid family and medical leave would save the U.S. health care system $62.4 billion over the next decade by improving health outcomes and reducing the need for many health care services.
The report comes as Congress is on the cusp of enacting a comprehensive national paid family and medical leave program. Currently, nearly 80 percent of working adults lack access to paid family and medical leave - jeopardizing their ability to face personal illness, injury, or disability; welcome home a new child; or care for an aging relative without being subjected to financial hardship.
“We already know that paid family and medical leave helps workers recover, improves outcomes for mothers and infants, and prevents many older adults from having to resort to nursing home care. This new data makes it clear that there is also a financial return on investing in paid family and medical leave, especially for the most at-risk populations,” says Debra Ness, President of The National Partnership for Women and Families. “A national paid leave program would generate billions of dollars in direct health care cost savings in addition to supporting better health outcomes, and providing financial security and peace of mind for workers and families across the United States. Paid family and medical leave is both a moral imperative and smart economic policy for our nation. It is time for Congress to make a once-in-a-lifetime investment in our country’s care infrastructure.”
The $62.4 billion in savings from paid family and medical leave includes medical service costs that would otherwise be made out of pocket, by private insurance companies, or by government programs such as Medicare and Medicaid. The $62.4 billion in savings includes:
- $11.4 billion in savings from fewer low-birthweight births: Paid leave would reduce low-birthweight births by an estimated 3.2 percent, preventing nearly 10,000 low-birthweight births each year.
- $3.6 billion in savings due to reduced infant hospitalizations: Paid leave would reduce hospitalizations for respiratory conditions in children less than one year old by nearly 25 percent, and for GI conditions by nearly 15 percent, which would save $3.6 billion over a decade.
- $1.1 billion due to reduced pediatric ear infections and cases of ADHD: Because of their frequency, ear infections are also one of the most expensive children’s conditions, at an annual cost of $4.0 billion and average per-child expenditures of $530.
- $9.2 billion in savings from prevention of postpartum depression: By increasing leave-taking, national paid leave could prevent nearly 54,000 cases of PPD each year, saving $9.2 billion over a decade.
- $2.7 billion from reduced food insecurity among parents: Paid leave would reduce the share of households experiencing very low food security in the year following birth by 2.29 percentage points, saving up to $274 million per year, or $2.7 billion over a decade.
- $34.4 billion in savings to Medicare and Medicaid from reduced nursing home usage: Paid family leave would reduce the share of older adults who use a nursing home in a given year by 11 percent.
About the National Partnership
The National Partnership for Women & Families is a nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy group dedicated to promoting fairness in the workplace, reproductive health and rights, access to quality, affordable health care and policies that help all people meet the dual demands of work and family. More information is available at NationalPartnership.org.
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