WPR News
11:25 am
Mon October 13, 2008

Too Many C-Sections in Wyoming

Laramie, WY – There are too many unnecessary cesarean section operations performed in the U-S and Wyoming is part of that trend.

State Senator Charles Scott of Casper is part of the Reforming States Group, a national organization that's trying to find way to reduce health care costs and improve care. The group has come out with a report that says more than 30 percent of U-S births are now by c-section, even though experts say the number should be around five to ten percent. Scott says nearly half the births in Wyoming are paid for by taxpayers through the Medicaid program: "We're clearly doing an awful lot of c-sections, and while that's an operation that, as operations go is pretty safe, being pretty safe is not the same as being absolutely safe. It's pretty clear we're doing harm to some patients and we're costing more than we should."

And because doctors get paid more for c-sections than natural births, there's an incentive to do them. Plus, doctors are worried about getting sued if a natural birth goes wrong. Scott's solution would be to reduce malpractice lawsuits and reduce the financial incentives for c-sections. Scotts says he has not yet decided whether the timing is right to propose his bill during the next legislative session.