June 30, 1975

Experience From Sweden

Author Affiliations

Swedish Covenant Hospital Chicago

JAMA. 1975;232(13):1328. doi:10.1001/jama.1975.03250130012003

To the Editor.—  As a newly immigrated Swedish general practitioner in this country, I am both amused and saddened to observe the intense and sometimes inflamed debate over issues like National Health Insurance and socialization of medicine in the United States. There are virtually no pros and cons in the arguments that I did not hear over and over again as a part of the struggle that preceded the Swedish reform. Now, after a few years of testing the Swedish experiment, it is striking to see the negative effects that neither the advocates nor the opponents of government take-over were able to foresee.Summing up, the experience is saddening: the quality of health care, generally, has not been affected positively. A governmental and bureaucratic superstructure has created incredible waiting lines for specialty care (heavily centralized). It is not unusual to wait a year or more for a cataract operation. Primary