Via Mark Perry, a study came out in Sweden that shows the number of Swedes seeking private insurance has increased by 400% over the last decade as more and more people are finding the public system inadequate. This story in The Local is telling:
Eva-Lisa Krabbe, political secretary at the Swedish Association of Health Professionals (Vårdförbundet), a union for Swedish healthcare workers, is among those dismayed by the trend.
“We think healthcare should be available through the public system. If we have a public system that covers people’s needs, there’s no need for insurance,” she argues.
Of course Sweden’s health bureaucrats are dismayed by the trend. The article goes on to quote others worried about egalitarianism and the ability of private citizens to opt-out of the government system… and none of them concerned about the actual quality of the health care being delivered. And we’re told, finally, a few paragraphs later: people are leaving because they’re completely unsatisfied with what is being provided by the government.
The article also cites “objections that the development results in a two-track system in which wealthy, employed patients receive better, faster care,” and leaves out “that they are paying for.” Some people are deciding that it’s worth their extra money to invest in more health care than the government provides. And, for some reason, that’s considered an injustice. Canada, unsurprisingly, has been facing a similar boom in provision of private health services.
Meanwhile in England, David Cameron and the Tories have run up against a solid front of opposition to their bold plans to reform the National Health Service, despite the obvious need. The Economist has reflected on the challenges facing their system, and Cameron has paid an enormous political price for attempting to touch that third rail. (He had to dial down his plans a few months ago amidst an outrage.)
What we’re seeing is that, once a health system gets nationized into an entitlement, the Left and the bureaucrats in place will go all-out to defend every last provision no matter how urgent the need for reform or how obvious the failings. That’s been on display with Paul Ryan’s efforts to reform Medicare and Medicaid, and it’ll be the case in fifteen years if Obamacare is still entrenched.