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Sweden’s health care system - people opting for private care
Posted by: McQ on Tuesday, January 29, 2008

One of the primary reasons isn't the level of care, but access to that care. And the problem being identified is lack of incentive to increase efficiency.
Waiting times for medical care in Sweden are the longest in Europe, according to the Health Consumer Powerhouse, which analyzes health-care systems in the region. About 33,000 people had been waiting more than three months for surgery or other major treatments at the end of August, an increase of 43 percent from May, a report by the Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions showed.

Critics of Sweden's welfare model say there are no incentives for hospitals to improve efficiency. Oscar Hjertqvist, director of the Health Consumer Powerhouse, likens the current system to a bad restaurant getting government funding.

``In Sweden, you would get paid just to have a restaurant, but there would be no requirements that people should get any food,'' said Hjertqvist, whose group has offices in Brussels and Stockholm.
Consequently people in Sweden, espeically the wealthy, are opting for private care:
Jorun Lindell got fed up with Swedish health care the day her son Harald waited four hours to be treated at a Stockholm emergency ward. His knees and ankles were swollen ``like soccer balls.''

``We were hysterical because we didn't know what was wrong and no one would help us,'' says Lindell, 39, whose 4-year-old whimpered with pain in a waiting room at the Astrid Lindgren Children's Hospital, named after the author of the Pippi Longstocking children's books.

Lindell is among the parents backing Sweden's first private hospital for children. Opening in the second half of 2008 in Stockholm's affluent Oestermalm district, Martina Children's Hospital will handle about 20,000 emergency cases a year, a third of Astrid Lindgren's case load.
Say the critics of such a move:
``The new hospital for the children of the upper classes is a mockery of the most fundamental values of the Swedish system,'' said Lars Ohly, leader of the Swedish Left Party. ``Care should be given based on needs, not wallets.''
Really? Well care based on need is no care at all if you don't have access. And where that is the case (and it appears to be the case in most government run programs) people vote with their wallets. As you might imagine, Ohly would be happy to deny them that right.
 
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Previous Comments to this Post 

Comments
``Care should be given based on needs, not wallets.’’
That is a fundamentally flawed statement from Roly Poly Ohly. The real difference is that Ohly wants the government to hold on to the wallet and determine what care is given. And time and again those countries in which the state is charged with this task are proving they are incapable of providing for those needs.

This is the cluster**** Democrats want to move the US to.
 
Written By: the wolf
URL: http://
Sweden also partially privatized its version of social security, allowing individuals to invest their own savings in various funds.
 
Written By: Harun
URL: http://
Consequently people in Sweden, espeically the wealthy, are opting for private care:
But Hillary has already told us she’ll take that option away from us when she’s elected.
 
Written By: meagain
URL: http://
"Somebody" ought to start collecting these stories, especially ones like this. "I’m building a hospital because government health care doesn’t work" starts to move beyond mere "anecdote". Most of the debate seems to be trading anecdotes, and that’s too easy to ignore.
 
Written By: Jeremy Bowers
URL: http://www.jerf.org/iri
But Hillary has already told us she’ll take that option away from us when she’s elected.
For our own good, natch.
 
Written By: Achillea
URL: http://
How many of these anecdotes do we need to see? Sign me up already! Here in CA, we’re fighting hard to get this going. I can’t wait... my family’s very anxious to get on a waiting list...
 
Written By: Rob
URL: http://
If you cite Sweden’s problems what we’re going to hear, like the ’better, smarter’ American that was promised in 2006, is "we’ll do it better".

That will be the extent of the plan to ensure we don’t have the same problems, the mere assurance that we won’t have them.
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
I don’t use HMO’s because of the wait for surgery and the worry to contain costs across members. My #1 motivation to stay employed is to maintain top quality healthcare for myself and family - if I can’t do that I can retire.

When I was diagnosed with a potentially cancerous condition the first thing the doc said (out of habit) was "OK, well first we’ll get permission from your HMO, then we’ll set up an appointment and schedule your surgery" - I said "no I don’t have an HMO." - so we scheduled my surgery.

I had learned 10 years earlier Docs are incentivized by HMO’s not to send you to specialists or diagnose real issues and to slow things down (since dead people stop asking for treatment). A coworker just switched from HMO when he realized that his doc suspected a condition might exist but wouldn’t send him for the tests... now he’s going to get the tests and then he’s going to consider switching back since the HMO will make it cheaper to pay for treating the condition once the diagnosis is found.... not the brightest move in my opininion but a major reason we are seeing universal care promoted - people don’t want to pay and P.T. is promising them "such a deal!"

What is the ADA says - something like 6 Million Americans have diabetes and don’t know it... the test costs next to nothing - but the treatment cost is for life.
 
Written By: BIllS
URL: http://bills-opinions.blogspot.com
btw, I didn’t clarify it but one of my points is that a government run healthcare system is like a nationwide HMO and it’s not only inefficient because there is no competition but because the only concern is cost containment to fit an arbitrary budget - limiting costs requires indirect methods of avoiding healthcare - I mean costs.
 
Written By: BIllS
URL: http://bills-opinions.blogspot.com
HMOs were created because of the government / insurance company controls on medical costs.

Doctors had to band together and employ buisness teams to deal with government / insurance company efforts to reduce "fraud". It’s the direct result of breaking part of the market with a partially socialist system.

Obviously, the answer to a system broken by government intervention is more intervention.
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
Frustrating, but not surprising. ;-(
 
Written By: Speedmaster
URL: http://amateureconblog.blogspot.com/
Well, here’s my personal example. In ’03 I was diagnosed with malignant melanoma. It required surgery on my back, resulting in a nice 12" scar I can tell kids lots of stories about (shark bite! Attacked by pirates.... you name it!). No worries with the surgery, they got everything out of me before it hit the lymphs or migrated anywhere. All good. My only requirement was to follow up with the Dr. on a quarterly basis. Then semi-annual. Then annual. No big deal. I see people with worse fates than me every time I walk in the door.

December ’06, I get the lovely call from my boss... we’re letting you go. D@mn! Oh well, get a new job in Feb ’07. All’s well. Go for my yearly checkup, new insurance company says ’pre-existing condition’ and won’t pay. Just damn. I lose a job, and as a direct result, I now pay for my yearly cancer check ups. But you know what? I’d rather pay for everything than have Universal Care provided by the government.

But I am left questioning why the hell on one day my treatment is covered and the next it is not. What kind of system is that? I mean, besides pathetic?
 
Written By: meagain
URL: http://
meagain, I believe that HIPAA included a clause saying insurance couldn’t do exactly what you describe. Talk with an attorney.
 
Written By: SDN
URL: http://
Thanks SDN - I’ll do that.
 
Written By: meagain
URL: http://

 
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