We’ve all heard that the United States spends more (16 percent of GDP, or $2.10 Trillion) on Health Care than any other industrialized country. However, Norway, long heralded as a “shining example” of Nationalized Health Care, has its own problems to contend with. Norway’s overall tax burden, which is 45 percent of its GDP, ranks second only to Sweden, which has the highest tax burden among all the industrialized countries.
On any given day 280,000 Norwegians (out of a country of 4.6 million) are waiting for health care. Norway’s government has been trying to “legislate” these waits out of existence since 1990–successfully.
An expert in medical ethics with the University of Oslo summed it up by saying, “It is important to see: (A) that in a public health service of the Nordic type, any given amount of resources always has alternative uses; and (B) it is neither medically nor morally defensible to put scarce resources to uses which will foreseeably yield less favorable outcomes than other uses–save fewer lives, cure fewer patients.”
While Norwegians generally report that they are “fairly satisfied” with the way their health care system is run, there has been growing discontent over such issues as the ability to choose a health care provider, involvement in decisions regarding care or treatment, and long waiting periods.
The average wait for hip replacement is more than four months; for prostatectomy, three months; and hysterectomy, over two months. It’s estimated that 23 percent of all patients needing hospitalization must wait at least three months for admission. This for a country ranked 11th in the world by the World Health Organization among industrialized countries (the US ranks 37th just ahead of last place Slovenia, and behind 36th place Costa Rica).
Norway at a glance:
Has the longest coastline in Europe.
Has around 50,000 islands, and only 2,000 islands are inhabited.
- Norway Vikings founded the world’s oldest parliament, the Lyn Wald, over 1000 years old.
Norwegians enjoy a very healthy diet, and they have one of the world’s highest consumptions of fish, milk, and cheese.
Norwegian inventions include the cheese slice and the paper clip.
Norwegian per-capita income ranks amongst the world’s highest.
Doug Gulleson loves to scuba dive overseas and makes sure he always takes his Amex card AND international travel insurance policy. Visit Good Neighbor Insurance at www.overseashealthinsurance.com/short-term.asp for your next overseas trip health coverage and get a FREE quote or call one of our agents at 480-633-9500.