New research, Paid Leave Would Cut Healthcare Costs, by the National Partnership for Women and Families, argues that a paid family and medical leave bill will save the economy over $64 billion if it becomes law.

The House Ways and Means Committee version of the proposal would create a national paid family and medical leave program providing up to 12 weeks of time with partial wage replacement to help with the birth of a new child, care for a family member with a serious health condition or address one’s own serious health needs.

According to the study, the United States would save at least $62.4 billion in health care costs over the next decade. The estimate is based on an analysis that draws on a large and growing body of academic research documenting how paid leave improves public health.

The biggest saving would be in reduced costs to the Medicare and Medicaid health care programs because families would be able to provide an increased level of long-term care services to elderly family members.  Other savings come on the other end of life at birth. Over $11 billion would come from better pre-natal care resulting in reduced low-birth weight births.  There would also be a savings of more than $9 billion resulting from a reduction in post-partum depression.

The family and medical leave proposal is another critical program being debated for inclusion in the reconciliation bill.  CWLA has been a long-time supporter of family leave proposals from past national conferences in the 1990s when advocates such as Senator Christopher Dodd (D-CT) spoke in favor of his new legislative proposal to CWLA’s support of the 1993 Family and Medical Leave Act.