Healthcare in Sweden

Topics: Medicine, Health care, Universal health care Pages: 5 (1540 words) Published: November 10, 2012
Healthcare In Sweden
Amanda Wilson
NUR301 Transition to Professional Nursing
Professor Lori Dowell

Healthcare in Sweden
There are pros and cons for any health care system researched. Obviously no country in the world has perfected the job of balancing supply and demand in a cost effect manner. Everyone has complaints about how the government runs things in their country and everyone has horror stories about how they have been treated at some point by the medical profession. After all of my research I believe that Sweden has incorporated many good aspects of service while only having a few downfalls. With continued reform Sweden’s healthcare system could become a highly efficient system. Overview

The main objective of the Swedish healthcare system is to provide quality healthcare with equal access for all. There are three principles that are followed by the medical profession and those are: “human dignity, which means that all human beings have an equal entitlement to dignity, and should have the same rights, regardless of their status in the community. Need and solidarity means that those in greatest need take precedence in medical care, and cost effectiveness means that when a choice has to be made from different health care options, there should be a reasonable relationship between the costs and the effects, measured in terms of improved health and improved quality of life.” (Anell et al, pg. 33) The healthcare system is organized into three divisions: national, regional, and local. The main agency at the national level is the Ministry of Health and Social Affairs. It oversees the other national agencies such as the Medical Products Agency (which regulates the manufacturing and sales of pharmaceuticals), Pharmaceutical Benefits Board (sets the prices on drugs), and the National Corporation of Swedish Pharmacies (which owns all pharmacies and is responsible for supplying drugs at uniform prices). (Hogberg, 2007) The regional agencies are made up of county councils and they are responsible for all services rendered from primary care to hospital care as well as having agreements with, and supervising private health care providers (Hogberg, 2007). Municipalities make up the local level. The municipal council’s duty is to watch over people who have been discharged from hospitals and are now using public nursing homes or home care (Hogberg, 2007). Cost Control

The majority of funds (80%) for the Swedish healthcare system come from taxes, while 3% comes from grants, 17% comes from user-fees. As of 2009 9.9% of Sweden’s GDP was spent on healthcare (Anell et al, pg. 15). The user fees are comparable to copays in the United States and are set by the county councils. These user fees are as follows: $16-31 for a pcp visit, $31-47 to see a specialist, and prescription drug fees, for which consumers pay a sliding scale fee until they reach $270 and then all prescriptions are covered, and hospital visits are $12 a day. There is a cap of $140 per year that can be charged for medical expenses (Anell, pg. 99). In “Lesson from Sweden’s Universal Health System: Tales from the Health-care Crypt”, author Sven Larson (2008) quotes Dr. Olle Stendahl as saying “In our budget-government health care there is no room for curious, young physicians and other professionals to challenge established views. New knowledge is not attractive but typically considered a problem that brings increased costs and disturbances in today’s slimmed-down health care.” (pg.22)

Currently, a large segment of the budget is portioned out for hospital care but there are initiatives and reforms in place focusing on primary prevention such as promoting physical activity and healthy diet habits as well as tertiary preventions aimed at preventing alcohol, drug, tobacco abuse and gambling addictions. Another focus is on coordination of care in hopes of cutting back on costs from repeat procedures (Anell et al, pg.22). Equality


References: Anell, A., Glenngård A.H., Merkur S. (2012). Sweden: Health system review. Health Systems in Transition, 14(5):1–187.
Larson, S.R. (2008). Lessons from Sweden’s universal health system: tales from the health-care crypt. Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons, 13(1), 21-22.
Hogberg, D. (May 2007). Sweden’s single-payer health system provides a warning to other nations. National Policy Analysis, #555. Retrieved from
Anell, A. (2011). International Profiles of Health Care Systems, The Commonwealth Fund, 99-105.
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