Tuesday, September 04, 2018

Swedes enjoy world-class healthcare - when they get it

This article about access to medical care in Sweden contains a lot of boilerplate about Sweden's nationalized medical care delivery system.  We've seen similar stuff before.
But I think there is something new, virtually hidden down in the 14thparagraph:
Swedes also complain about not being able to see their own regular general practitioner
This is different – and seems to me fresh, important information. 
Why different?  Why important?  Because nationalized medical care delivery systems are usually careful to provide easy and universal access to primary care.  Rationing generally focuses on the much more costly specialty and hospital care, e.g., surgery.
This strategy means most citizens will be satisfied with the care they receive because most medical encounters involve primary care. It also means objections to rationing are concentrated within a relatively small percentage of the population. Thus the strategy ensures that public opinion polling will reflect generally favorable satisfaction scores.  Advocates of nationalized medical delivery systems for Americans  - e.g., "Medicare for All" - constantly emphasize polls that say how much people in other countries love their nationalized systems of delivering medical care.  
And that is where the new information down in the 14th paragraph becomes relevant.  Swedes are meeting increasing restrictions to access for primary care.  They don't like it.  They also don't like electronic access as a substitute for their personal practitioner.  It seems to me that if diminished access to traditional primary care spreads in Sweden, and perhaps elsewhere in Europe, public satisfaction toward nationalized medical systems is also very likely to diminish.  
If that occurs in Europe it will surely affect the debate over nationalized medical care in America.
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