Swedish Video on Health Care

It would be an exaggeration to say that this video — Emelie behöver inga fler skattesänkningar — is the biggest issue in the upcoming Swedish election. Rather, this video illustrates what has all of a sudden become a defining issue in the election, the undermining of Sweden’s national health care system. Watch it — and be patient because when the audio starts it is in English, with Swedish subtitles.

Somehow, I doubt the technique would work here, though.

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8 Responses to Swedish Video on Health Care

  1. Vic says:

    Well if you look into it a bit, you find that the real story with Emilie is apparently that her doctors say she’s unfit to work (and therefore should be covered by the government health insurance per Swedish law), while the government bureaucrats who get to sign off on the doctors wishes disagree with them. So apparently in Sweden they have death panels (this is EXACTLY what has sometimes been over-dramatically characterized as a death panel IS among those who oppose Obama-care).

    I don’t argue at all that the current system is perfect – and I don’t think anyone does. However at least now there is some recourse to a somewhat neutral third party – the government – when the insurance companies don’t want to play by the agreed upon rules. Some folks legitimately fear that when government IS the insurance company, that neutrality will be compromised.

    We see it now in Emilie’s video, and other similar examples fram all over the government medicine world. We also already see hints of it coming here. Look at the recent stories of U.S. government studies/recommendations showing that certain kinds of cancer screenings don’t need to be done so often – do you think that MAYBE, when they also get to decide, they might follow their own recommendations? I honestly don’t know, but I know I’d rather make my case to a third party judge that has no skin in the game, than some government functionary who does, followed by a judge who must defer to the political branches when told to. Whether the health system is independant or governmental, there will be contraversies to be determined. I’d rather one side of the contraversey NOT be able to tell the judge what the rules are (as Congress can).

    So if you see anything in Emilie’s video, it should not be the state of the election in Sweden, but a bellweather on how governments eventually and inevitably deal with super-expensive programs.

  2. marie says:

    First, my impression of Obamacare as currently enacted is that individuals will still get insurance from private insurance companies (not the government). Is this incorrect?
    Second, I was speaking to somebody from Sweden about this issue last week. I asked him about the standard of care, which opponents of government insurance / healthcare argue will be greatly reduced. In his experiences as a patient in the healthcare systems of Sweden and the USA, he said that Sweden’s standard of care was not worse. In fact, he said he got better care in Sweden. However, he did acknowledge that the amount of time you must wait to see a specialist in Sweden may be significantly longer.
    He did tell me about an interesting alternative in Sweden too. You can buy supplemental private insurance which allows you to see private (rather than the usual public) doctors immediately. My concern with this situation is that it allows a subset (probably those with the most power and influence in society) to avoid any negative consequences of the public healthcare system, discouraging necessary or desirable reforms. If the most influential members of society have no skin in the game, what is the likelihood of (costly) change? (I guess this question also applies to those who are fortunate enough to be able to afford comprehensive health insurance under the current American system.) Any thoughts on this?
    Third, for those many Americans who currently receive their health insurance through their employer, their health insurance plans are likely governed by a federal statute called ERISA. Under ERISA, as interpreted by the US Supreme Court, it is almost always the private employer administrator who gets to decide (i) whether and what benefits the employee is entitled to, and (ii) the rules. Those decisions are then given substantial deference if a lawsuit for healthcare benefits is filed in state or federal court (no true neutral third party). Thus, to the extent one is worried about decisionmakers with skin in the game, then the current system is more problematic than a government run program. After all, a private for profit company (employer and those hired by employer to run the healthcare program) has a greater incentive to stack the deck than does the government, whose interests run to more than money alone. Does this change the analysis of the benefits or detriments of government health insurance?
    Also, should we be concerned with the impact that employer provided health insurance has on job mobility and (macro) economic efficiency? Many Americans are afraid to leave an unsatisfying job and/or strike out on their own (small business) because of the extraordinary costs of private health insurance. Inasfar as Obamacare seeks to lower the costs for individual private insurance, isn’t that a good thing? Would government health insurance go even further, be even more beneficial in this aspect?
    Finally, are there other aspects of either Obamacare or true government insurance / healthcare which we are ignoring in castigating this legislation? What other way is there to fairly prohibit pre-existing condition restrictions, which trap you into your current situation? Also, what about the savings in individual bankruptcy cases (I am given to understand that a significant number of individual bankruptcies historically have been due to medical emergencies). Society is eating these costs one way or another. Is Obamacare (mandatory minimum health insurance for all) or government healthcare really so evil as to eclipse these societal benefits / savings?

  3. Actually, currently we (here in the US) can buy our health insurance from health insurers. That system has worked well as companies compete with each other for business.

    But Obama is not a big fan of big business and it appears he wants to dismantle the system and let the govt. run everything.

    Yes, we need reform but we need both parties involved…not just one.

  4. michael says:

    The US system works well for people like me with pretty good, fairly expensive, health insurance. I just had a major health trauma, involving about a month in a hospital, and not only got very good care but ended up out of pocket much less than my (rather extravagant) fears. But it wasn’t zero, and for a family living on the edge it could have been a problem. And there was no way to get a bottom line on the costs until months afterward. Indeed, I just got a new bill relating to the February events last week. Admittedly, it was only 74 cents, but it means I still can’t be quite sure I’ve paid for it all.

    The system doesn’t work at all well for people with lousy, cheaper, policies, as the innumerable horror stories all over the newspapers and the Internet attest. The real death panels are the people at private insurers who deny coverage, or explain that the doctor the hospital sent to see you was out of network so you have to pay, or cancel coverage of sick people for specious reasons.

    The status quo ante in the US was pretty bad. I think the Obama changes make it better. Somewhat better. I don’t know that I’m prepared to call it good yet. Some abuses will end. Buit there are still many who will be uninsured, which is both bad for them and for the rest of us (a public health problem with externalities). And good policies — which are all run through the giant overheads (25% and more) of the private sector insurers — are still expensive, and getting more expensive every year.


    Dear brother in Jesus,

    God says, “I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times. what is still to come!…What I have said, that will I bring about; what I have planned that will I do!”

  6. Just me says:

    “brother in Jesus?” Michael, I thought you were Jewish?

  7. michael says:

    Yes, and you think the crazy sp*mmer cares why exactly?

  8. Just me says:

    I don’t. I just thought it was funny.

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