SWEDEN'S GOVERNMENT HEALTH CARE
March 5, 2009
Sweden is the world's socialist wonder, however, Sven R. Larson tells about some of Sweden's problems in "Lesson from Sweden's Universal Health System: Tales from the Health-care Crypt," published in the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons (Spring 2008).
- One Gothenburg multiple sclerosis patient was prescribed a new drug but his doctor's request was denied because the drug was 33 percent more expensive than the older medicine; he then offered to pay for the medicine himself but was prevented from doing so because the bureaucrats said it would set a bad precedent and lead to unequal access to medicine.
- Malmo, with its 280,000 residents, is Sweden's third-largest city to see a physician, a patient must go to one of two local clinics before they can see a specialist; the clinics have security guards to keep patients from getting unruly as they wait hours to see a doctor and the guards also prevent new patients from entering the clinic when the waiting room is considered full.
- Uppsala, a city with 200,000 people, has only one specialist in mammography; Sweden's National Cancer Foundation reports that in a few years most Swedish women will not have access to mammography.
Dr. Olle Stendahl, a professor of medicine at Linkoping University, pointed out a side effect of government-run medicine: its impact on innovation. He said, "In our budget-government health care there is no room for curious, young physicians and other professionals to challenge established views. New knowledge is not attractive but typically considered a problem (that brings) increased costs and disturbances in today's slimmed-down health care."
These are just a few of the problems of Sweden's single-payer government-run health care system, says columnist Walter E. Williams. We have problems in our health care system but most of them are a result of too much government. Today, over 50 percent of health care expenditures in our country are made by government.
Source: Walter E. Williams, "Sweden's Government Health Care," Townhall.com, March 4, 2009; based upon: Sven R. Larson, "Lesson from Sweden's Universal Health System: Tales from the Health-care Crypt," published in the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons, Vol. 13, No. 1, Spring 2008.
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