Skip to main content


Liu, Zhimei; Dow, William H.; & Norton, Edward C. (2004). Effect of Drive-Through Delivery Laws on Postpartum Length of Stay and Hospital Charges. Journal of Health Economics, 23(1), 129-155.


Postpartum hospital length of stay fell rapidly during the 1980s and 1990s, perhaps due to increased managed care penetration. In response, 32 states enacted early postpartum discharge laws between 1995 and 1997, and a federal law took effect in 1998. We analyze how these laws changed length of stay and hospital charges, using a national discharge database. Difference-in-differences models show that the laws increased both length of stay and hospital charges, but the magnitude of this effect is much smaller than has been estimated in previously reported case studies. Furthermore, we find that effects vary by law details, that ERISA diluted the law effects, and that law effects partially spilled over to unregulated Medicaid births.


Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published


Journal Title

Journal of Health Economics


Liu, Zhimei
Dow, William H.
Norton, Edward C.