Swedish Health Care System Essay

Pages: 9 (3049 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: ≈ 10  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: Master's  ·  Topic: Healthcare

If an individual is ill for more than 14 days, he or she will receive a slightly lower compensation from the Swedish Social Insurance Agency. After an individual has been sick for longer periods of time, their illness is assessed at various intervals for any change in their status and their payment is then adjusted according to their illness.

Most of the health care in Sweden is provided in health care centers staffed by doctors, nurses and other allied health staff. The fee chargeable in most centers ranges from SEK 100 to 200 depending on the county where the care is provided. There is however a maximum of SEK 300 in the case of specialist visit. The hospital stay fee per day is given as approximately SEK 80. The cost ceiling which limits the amount an individual may pay for medical care is fixed at SEK 900 whereas for prescription medication, the same is fixed at SEK 1,800 per annum.

Impact of Health Care on Sweden's Economy

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Residents of Sweden have since 1993 had the freedom of choosing their health care. Hence it is possible for patients to seek treatment from any provider or at any location in the country (Swedish Institute, 2011). This freedom has effectively brought about a growing number of private health care providers in the country who have in the recent past begun to compete with public care facilities. It can however be noted that the care rendered by these private providers is still paid for by the social insurance and hence the cost for patients remains the same. The county councils also buy health related services from private health care providers. In that regard, though undertaken by private care providers, approximately 10% of the country's health care has the city council as the financier. In this case, there exists a guarantee dictating that in addition to patients receiving the same care; they should also be covered by similar regulations as well as fees as those patients who receive care from municipal facilities (Swedish Institute, 2011).

Essay on Swedish Health Care System All Assignment

Since health care in Sweden is funded using local taxes, opportunities for economic expansion are very limited. This restriction in cost ensures that existing resources are utilized to their fullest capacities. Though correlations between county councils have led to improvements in this line, this has led to lack of national data mainly as a result of the decentralization of health care delivery. As a result, there have been deliberate attempts to come up with frameworks to compare care delivered with the initiative being spearheaded by two bodies including The National Board of Health and Welfare as well as The Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions.

Basically, this framework has the aim of availing information in a more accessible form for both the patients and the general public (Swedish Institute 2011). Secondly, the model seeks to provide an opportunity for municipalities and street councils to streamline as well as manage health care in an easier way. Lastly, the Swedish Institute (2011) gives the provision of a superior platform for debates (public) as well as other relevant political considerations touching on health care delivery as yet another key aim of the model.

Sweden's Health Care system Compared to that of the United States

Sweden's health care system is very different from that of the United States. As Hogberg (2007) points out, "Sweden had a single-payer system of health care" for the most part of 20th century. Payment of health care costs in what was referred to as a "single-payer" system remained a responsibility of the government. However, it can be noted that increasing health care expenses is an issue the country has had to deal with just like other jurisdictions having a single-payer system. These increases have caused a strain on the government budget. In a bid to stem this problem, there exists a practice of "rationing health care."

Unlike in Sweden, the health care cost in the U.S. is not funded almost entirely by the government. Instead, the U.S. system is funded in several different ways. According to the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (2005), approximately 60% of health spending in the U.S. is funded by the government. The government provides health care coverage for individuals under 65 years old. Such individuals could be having certain disabilities such as renal failure. The U.S. government also provides health care funding to several groups mainly comprising of families and individuals with low incomes. It can be noted that in this case, such individuals must meet the criteria outlined under both federal and state law as far as their recognition as an eligible group is concerned. Hence in basic terms, the U.S. health care system is funded by several different payers (multi-payer) comprising of both private and government participants. On the other hand, Sweden's health care system which can be referred to as a single-payer system is funded almost entirely by the government with little public assistance or participation. It can be noted that in the past, there have been several proposals of America adopting a socialized health care delivery approach or a single-payer system. However, at this time, the multi-payer system continues to be in place in the U.S.

The current U.S. president, Barack Obama, has in the past floated the possibility of adopting a health care delivery system controlled by the U.S. government. The goal of the proposal is to ensure that the health care system in such a case has tighter controls in addition to enhancing the availability of health care for all U.S. residents.

Potential Lessons for U.S. Based on Sweden's Health Care System

Despite the fact that some of the major features of the Swedish health care system cannot be implemented under the existing U.S. laws, their approach to health care provides several potentially important lessons in terms of access, cost and perhaps, quality. In principle, however, it is possible to incorporate some of the better features and approaches of Swedish health care into U.S. health care so as to improve at least two important elements. First, and perhaps most importantly, the Swedish system demonstrates how crucial it is to have a public health care option competing against private-sector health care service providers. Since most of the costs of private health care services in the U.S. are paid through private, for-profit health insurance companies that have no public counterpart, they are free to and have continually raised the prices of their premiums to the point where health insurance (and therefore health care) becomes in-affordable to nearly half the U.S. population (Kennedy, 2006). Without going as far as nationalizing and making all health care services public, the Swedish system illustrates why having a public health insurance option is essential within the U.S. health care best interests. By competing against the private health insurance companies, the public option would dramatically reduce costs and thereby increase the availability of health care in the U.S. (Kennedy, 2006).

On the other hand, it should be noted that the quality of services available in the Swedish system is not necessarily as good as the health care services available in other nations such as in Britain, primarily because Sweden (like the U.S.) does not emphasize results in its health care professional compensation scheme. According to Genser (1999), Sweden simply limits the salaries of physicians in general within the socialist approach to social equality. By comparison, Britain factors the effectiveness of treatment directly into the salaries earned by physicians and this in turn promotes the best care practices in addition to the most aggressive and effective preventative medicine.


In conclusion, it can be noted that the Swedish health care system is not perfect and as I have already pointed out in the text above; some of its main features are fundamentally incompatible with the existing U.S. laws. However, it provides a rough model or framework for some of the important elements that could greatly improve American health care. Amongst the most important of these elements is the extent to which a public health insurance option comes across as being an absolute necessity in the U.S. If American health care costs are to ever be substantially reduced as a function of GDP and if health care access is ever to be equally available to all citizens.


Anderson, F. And Rydean-Bergsten, T. (1999). The health care costs of heart failure in Sweden. Journal of Internal Medicine. Vol. 246, 275-284.

Bureau of Labor Statistics (2011, November 4). Economic Release: Employment Situation Summary. Retrieved November 8th, 2011, from the Bureau of Labor Statistics website: http://www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.nr0.htm

Genser, M. (1999). "Sweden's Health care System." The Frasier Institute.

Hogberg, D. (2007, May). Sweden's Single-Payer Health System Provides a Warning to Other Nations. Retrieved November 3, 2011, from National Center for Public Policy website: http://www.nationalcenter.org/NPA555_Sweden_Health_Care.html

Kennedy, E. (2006). America: Back on Track. Viking: New York.

Marklund, S. (Ed.). (2000). Work life and health in Sweden 2000. National Institute for Working Life. Sweden.

Neovius, M.M., Janson, A.A., & Rossner, S.S. (2006).… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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