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PriceCheck: How Much Does It Cost to Have a Baby in Northern California?
KQED Radio

Childbirth is the most common reason for hospitalization in the U.S. In California, about half a million babies are born every year. Given how common it is — and that most births are fairly uncomplicated, medically — you’d think there would be some predictability in prices.

But there isn’t. The price of delivery varies dramatically, both nationwide and across California. A study last year of more than 109,000 births at 198 hospitals statewide found a stunning 11-fold variation in prices charged for vaginal delivery — from $3,296 to $37,227 — and more than 8-fold for cesarean section — from $8,312 to $70,908.