The Failure of Socialized Health Care in Sweden

This anecdotal article demonstrates not only the failure of socialized health care in Sweden, but also how its enormous price tag devastates the economies of average Swedes.

I’m a Texan who has been living in Sweden for 15 years. When I first moved here–before 9-11, before my awakening, I was a neocon.  I spent a lot of time debating people, in real life and on the Internet, about the pitfalls of socialism and socialized medicine.  It was my hobby, and I was good at it.  I mention this because I know from experience what it’s really like over here.  When Obama makes his sales pitch about how great health care works over here, I know he’s wrong- dead wrong.

Case in point: Meet Björn Hansen.  Björn is 50 years old and has paid taxes like a dutiful Swede his entire career.  So how much does that amount to?  A recent report by one of Sweden’s largest banks shows that the government takes 68% of the average Swede’s income every month.  Of course, if you make more than average, the government takes even more.  In exchange for being 68% tax slave, Swede’s are promised “free” health care.

A simple search reveals that Björn earns more money than 77.72% of his fellow citizens.

Björn makes more than 77.72% of all Swedes.

Wow, he must be pretty well off in the top 25% wage bracket!  Actually no. Although I can’t determine Mr Hansen’s exact income, I do know someone who earns about 50K USD (before taxes), which is more than 86.71% of all Swedes.  This is the cost of “free” health care and all the other empty promises of the welfare state: mediocre wages for everyone.

Björn has been suffering from a large herniated varicose vein on his leg, which causes great pain, making it hard to work as a pipe-layer and hard to sleep at night.  But that’s no problem for socialized health care in Sweden, right?  Wrong. When he went to the local hospital for help, he was denied care.  The doctor claimed that his case wasn’t severe enough to treat, so he would have to pay for it out-of-pocket at a private clinic.  However, in spite of earning more than 77% of all Swedes, Björn can’t afford the operation, which would cost 23,000 SEK ($3,547).

So after decades of tax slavery, Björn Hansen is denied the benefits he has been promised his entire life, and because of his extreme tax burden, he is unable to afford a private alternative.