Taxpayers May Have To Cover Octuplet Mom’s Costs


taxpayers-octupletsA big share of the financial burden of raising Nadya Suleman’s 14 children could fall on the shoulders of California’s taxpayers, compounding the public furor in a state already billions of dollars in the red. Even before the 33-year-old unemployed mother gave birth to octuplets last month, she had been caring for her six other children with the help of $490 a month in food stamps, plus Social Security disability payments for three of the youngsters. The public aid will almost certainly be increased with the new additions to her family.

Also, the hospital where the octuplets are expected to spend seven to 12 weeks has requested reimbursement from Medi-Cal, the state’s Medicaid program, for care of the premature babies, according to the Los Angeles Times. The cost has not been disclosed.

Word of the public assistance has stoked the furor over Suleman’s decision to have so many children by having embryos implanted in her womb. has found that Suleman herself has set up a website ( on which she asks the public for online donations. The site features pictures of each of the eight babies. The “Nadya Suleman Family Web Site” has instructions for making donations by check or credit card.

But not everyone thinks it is so cute anymore.

“It appears that, in the case of the Suleman family, raising 14 children takes not simply a village but the combined resources of the county, state and federal governments,” Los Angeles Times columnist Tim Rutten wrote in Wednesday’s paper. He called Suleman’s story “grotesque.”

On the Internet, writers have rained insults on Suleman, some calling her an “idiot.”

Charles Murray, in a letter to the Los Angeles Daily News, wrote, “Why should my wife and I, as taxpayers, pay child support for 14 Suleman kids?”

She was also berated on talk radio, where listeners accused her of manipulating the system and being an irresponsible mother.

“From the outside you can tell that this woman was playing the system,” host Bryan Suits said on the “Kennedy and Suits” show on KFI-AM. “You’re right the state should step in and seize the kids and adopt them out.”

Suleman also has a publicist, Mike Furtney, who has not returned many of the phone calls made to him.

In her only media interviews, Suleman told NBC’s “Today” she doesn’t consider the public assistance she receives to be welfare and doesn’t intend to remain on it for long.

Suleman, whose six older children range in age from 2 to 7, said three of them receive disability payments. She said one is autistic, but she has not disclosed the other youngsters’ disabilities, and refused to say how much they get in payments. In California, a low-income family can receive Social Security payments of up to $793 a month for each disabled child. Three children would amount to $2,379.

The Suleman octuplets’ medical costs have not been disclosed, but in 2006, the average cost for a premature baby’s hospital stay in California was $164,273, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The average cost for just one cesarean birth in 2006 was $22,762 in California. Eight times that equals $1.3 million. For a single mother, the cost of raising 14 children through age 17 ranges from $1.3 million to $2.7 million, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who is struggling to close a $42 billion budget gap by cutting services, declined through a spokesman to comment on the taxpayer costs associated with the octuplets’ delivery and care.

 {AP/Chematler News/Elisha Newscenter}