Stanley Feld M.D.,FACP,MACE
Sweden has a universal healthcare system that has been touted, by Bernie Sanders, to be the premier socialized medical system model in the world. The Swedish socialized medical system has hardly lived up to the praise. The fact is Sweden’s healthcare system is falling apart.
All Bernie Sanders has to do is read the local Swedish newspapers. He would learn that socialized medicine is not working in Sweden. He might even stop pushing his lie to the American public about how great “Medicare for All” will be for America.
“That Sweden no longer keeps up with those countries is largely due to its inability to reduce its patient waiting times, which are some of the worst in Europe, as the latest edition of the Euro Health Consumer Index (EHCI) revealed in Brussels on Monday.”
The 2014 EHCI also confirms other big problems within Swedish healthcare.
“This is not primarily due to the fact Swedenhas become worse – rather it is the case that other countries have improved faster.”
According to 2017 OECD figures, Sweden does have the fifth-highest life expectancy in Europe. Its cancer survival rates are among the continent’s highest. This could be because the rest of Europe’s socialized medicine systems are not as good as they could be.
One of the main pillars of the Swedish welfare stateis its universal healthcare system. The Swedish people are totally frustrated by the healthcare system’s inefficiency. The inefficiency is due in large part to the government bureaucracy.
“Swedes have little confidence that politicians will solve this,” said Lisa Pelling, chief analyst at progressive think tank Arena Ide.
“There is a risk their faith in the welfare state will be eroded,” she told AFP.
As an example of the frustration of the Swedes:
Asia Nader didn’t know whether to worry more about being diagnosedwith a hole in her heart at the age of 23 or having to wait a year for Swedish doctors to fix it.
“I completely fell apart when I found out,” she told AFP, remembering the long agonizing months until she finally had her operation in June this year, one month before her 23rd birthday.
Credit: George Hodan/public domain
There are long waiting lines waiting for access to care due to a shortage of nurses and available doctors in some areas.
The average income tax rate paid by Swedes is 50%. Immigrants cannot pay 50% of their earnings and survive. Immigrants are entitled to social services including medical care. The voters are angered over the flood of immigrants putting a tremendous strain on the healthcare system and delaying regular citizens access to care.
The rules set up by Swedish law about access to medical care are being ignored and unenforced.
“Swedish law stipulates patients should wait no more than 90 days to undergo surgery or see a specialist. Yet every third patient waits longer, according to government figures.”
“Patients must also see a general practitioner within seven days, the second-longest deadline in Europe after Portugal (15 days).”
Dental appointments can take a wait of 6 months.
The median wait for prostate cancer surgerywas 120 days. It has taken up to 271 days.to get prostate cancer surgery.
Swedes complain that they can’t see their own GP. There is little chance to develop a physician/patient relationship. Patients are being seen by temporary hires provided by outsourced staffing companies.
Telemedicine has mushroomed. Physicians are complaining about the fragmentation of care. There is little chance for continuing follow-up and assessing the result of therapy.
The number of hospital beds has declined in recent years. There is a hospital bed shortage in many communities.
“In Solleftea, the premier’s northern hometown with nearly 20,000 residents, the only maternity ward was shut down last year to save money.”
“With the closest maternity ward now 200 kilometres (125 miles) away, midwives offer parents-to-be classes on how to deliver babies in cars—which some have since done.”
Despite the bed shortages and delays in access to care, Sweden is the third highest spender on healthcare in the European Union. Sweden spends 11% of its GDP on its healthcare system.
Socialism and healthcare for all are not as great as Bernie Sanders is telling Americans. We should not believe him.
There is no question we have to improve our healthcare system to make it affordable and available to all.
However, we should not go down the path of Sweden and Finland with Bernie Sanders socialistic program of “Medicare for All.”
We will not only bankrupt America but also make access to care impossible.
The opinions expressed in the blog “Repairing The Healthcare System” are, mine and mine alone.
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