It’s referred to as “skin-to-skin” contact but it’s really the most natural act a person can think of. The act of holding a newborn infant, just released from the safe yet cramped confines of his mother’s womb for nine months, against his mother’s bare skin. The physical contact provides warmth, comfort and emotional satisfaction for the infant and the mother who has also just gone through a it of a traumatic experience.

The benefits of the “skin-to-skin” moment are clear and universally acknowledged:

As the father of four children, I’m familiar with the procedure and it’s a beautiful, healthy and supremely natural moment. So, naturally, it’s gonna cost ya.

A father in Utah has become an Internet sensation by posting the bill from his hospital after the birth of his son. The “skin-to-skin” encounter between he, his wife and their new baby cost them $39.35. After posting a picture of the bill to Reddit, he’s become the symbol of outrageous excess in America’s medical system… you know, all the outrageous excess President Obama promised to eliminate with the Affordable Care Act.

So, this must be wrong, right? The hospital just made a mistake and surely they’ll reverse the billing error, right?

Actually, the hospital stands by the charge:

According to KUTV, a spokeswoman for Intermountain HealthCare’s Utah Valley Hospital, wrote this in a statement:

“In general, Utah Valley Hospital is an advocate for skin-to-skin contact between a mother and newborn directly after birth. Skin-to-skin is a best practice with proven benefits for both mom and baby. We do everything possible to allow skin-to-skin after both vaginal and C-section births. In the case of a C-section, where the bedside caregiver is occupied caring for the mother during surgery, an additional nurse is brought into the OR to allow the infant to remain in the OR suite with the mother. This is to ensure both patients remain safe. There is an additional charge associated with bringing an extra caregiver into the OR. The charge is not for holding the baby, but for the additional caregiver needed to maintain the highest levels of patient safety.”

The father, Ryan Grassley, even started a GoFundMe account to help raise the 40 bucks. He succeeded.

skin-to-skin