The Dark Side of Nordic Socialism

Finnish Socialism

With surprising candor and welcomed dose of realism, a CNN report calls attention to what the authors refer as the “dark side” of Finland’s socialism, with special attention to its healthcare system.

The Finn universal healthcare system is a favorite of Sanders, who would like to see something comparable implemented in the U.S.

According to the authors, “The “Nordic model” consists of strong welfare states funded by relatively high levels of taxation, which enable governments to provide high-quality education and health care for all.”

Bernie, did you hear that?  The system is not sustainable because the Finns don’t have enough working-age, productive citizens to keep it going

The article mentions some of the virtues of the Finnish system, such as being “one of the five countries with the lowest maternal mortality rate,” and the fact that 88% of Finns are happy with their system.

But then reality rears its ugly head.

“Of course, it’s not all rosy. In March, the Finnish government resigned because it failed to get its health care reform through Parliament — becoming the second government in a row to fail to do so.” Hmm.

The crisis Finland is experiencing is even more remarkable because their system allows them to negotiate down the price of medicines—which Medicare is not allowed to do in our system.

Finland is much smaller than the U.S., so comparisons one way or the other are difficult to make—its population is the size of Minnesota’s.  However, there a few things the U.S. and Finland have in common that strongly argues against importing the Finnish healthcare model, or any socialist model for that matter:  a growing aging population that will draw on “Medicare-for-all” but who will not contribute to the healthcare system, combined with a declining birthrate.

In other words, as the Finns have themselves discovered, reforming the system has become an urgent necessity “from the point of view of sustainability.”  Bernie, did you hear that?  The system is not sustainable because the Finns don’t have enough working-age, productive citizens to keep it going, and will not have them—eventually like us—unless they import them.

‘”Finns are having [fewer and fewer] children.  People are getting older. So we need more people here because we need taxpayers,” says Juha Tuominen, the CEO of the largest hospital in Finland, “So if you think of sustainability, either we get more people to Finland or we have to cut the cost.”’

But as the Finns themselves have come to realize, not just more people.  More people with skills that make them able to pay into the system.

“As the country’s population ages and birth rates fall, the number of taxpayers paying into the system is diminishing—while the overall population is living longer and putting greater strain on resources. In 2018, the average single Finn faced a net average tax rate of 30%, compared to 23.8% in the United States.”

What Sanders and his fellow socialists in the Democratic party don’t get is, in one word, reality.  The reason why Medicare—and our other Entitlement programs—are in trouble is because we are in the same boat as Finland.  The baby-boomers are retiring, living longer, and drawing on Medicare and Medicaid in their twilight years, but not contributing to the pot.

But the Finns have also learned that to save their healthcare system, they need one more thing besides working-age people:  good old PRIVATIZATION (aka, Capitalism).  As Juha Touminen noted, “To make Finland’s health care system financially sustainable, one of the aims of the last government’s reform proposal was to cut costs by centralizing services and introducing more private options” (italics mine).

One of the interesting unintended beneficiaries of this report is none other than president Trump.  When the president insists that immigration must shift to merit, not family ties, critics jump to the conclusion that he is anti-immigrant and racist.

The fact is that given what this CNN report has just revealed—and knowing as I do that everything indicates 35% of our labor force in the next 20 years will have to come from immigrant labor—we better make sure the majority of those immigrants have the skills that will make them productive contributors to the economy and our Entitlement programs—if we are going to have them at all.

Now Bernie, who really gives a damn about the poor and the elderly?  Not you and your fellow socialists.


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