Political Editors / June 19, 2019

Scandinavia Moving Away From Socialized Health Care

Talk about bad timing for Bernie Sanders to be selling Medicare for All.

Socialism works so well that Scandinavian countries are … moving away from it. Despite what Democrat presidential candidate Bernie Sanders says, the Scandinavian countries of Denmark, Norway, and Sweden have never truly been socialist. A better descriptor would be high-tax social welfare states that fundamentally maintain capitalist free-market economies. This welfare aspect of the Scandinavian countries is most evident in their socialized health care. These health systems are far from universal, however. Unlike Sanders’s Medicare for All plan they employ cost-sharing services that are less comprehensive and allow for private health insurance plans.

In fact, Scandinavians are moving toward greater private health insurance coverage. The Daily Signal observes, “Between 2006 and 2016, the portion of the population covered by private insurance increased by 4% in Sweden, 7% in Norway, and 22% in Denmark.” Many of the private health insurance plans are designed to supplement government plans. The Signal notes, “This growing European interest in private health insurance typically stems from dissatisfaction with the state-run systems, which often provide poor or incomplete coverage and long wait times.”

As conservatives have long explained, government-run health care tends toward a subpar product; bad service, long wait times, lack of innovation, and little customer recourse. The beauty of a free market, capitalist system is that it fosters competition, which in turn benefits the customer by producing a higher-quality product, increased innovation, and speed of service. This is the reason why the U.S. has led the world in health care developments. And this is why the Scandinavian countries are moving away from welfare-based health systems.

Medicare for All would go far beyond the Scandinavian models into a full-blown socialist-controlled system. Unlike the Scandinavians, Sanders’s plan abolishes private health insurance. Washington bureaucrats would be determining everyone’s health care needs, not the patient and their doctor. And inevitably everyone’s taxes would increase, while the efficiency of health services would only decrease. Image everyone in America subject to a system similar to that of the VA…

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