A Personal Account of Socialized Medicine in Sweden

Posted by Adrian Wyllie October 24, 2012 Comments are off 561 views


By Mikael Sandström

The following is a story about my experience with the Swedish healthcare system.

It was late autumn in 2011, in the beginning of my studies as a Masters student at the University of Stockholm, Sweden.  I was having some minor eye issues so I decided to go for an eye exam in Sweden.  Keep in mind, I had already been to the eye exam in the United States and the doctor told me to continuously check my eye pressure to make sure it doesn’t raise above a certain level so I figured this was a good opportunity to test the Swedish healthcare system and check my eye pressure at the same time.

I walked in and was immediately handed a form to fill out and pay a fee about $20, apparently unless you frequently visit the doctor, you still have to pay introductory fees.  I walked into the doctors office and explained the situation with my eye pressure, so they used an obvious 20+ year old equipment to uncomfortably check my pressure. (the one in the United States was quick and painless)  Everything was OK, however, a specialized doctor was recommended so they casually reminded me to look for an appointment letter in the mail within a week…

Ten months later…

I had spent the summer in the United States and came back with a fresh mind, completely forgetting the fact I went to the eye doctor to confirm something I already knew.  Apparently the appointment letter took 10 months to come through and find me a date.  The appointment was obligatory and if I decided to not show up, I would be sent a fine.  I decided to turn down the appointment because I wasn’t very comfortable going completely through a system so ineffective that it would take 10 months to receive an appointment.  This was merely a test to see how the Swedish healthcare system functions so if I really wanted a professional opinion, clearly I would rely on a specialized doctor in the United States (well, I did in 2010 and they already told me what I needed to know) so going to this appointment date would be reiterating the same story.

When I turned the appointment date down, I thought well this is it, I don’t have to deal with this debunked system anymore!  Wrong, a week later, I received a new mail on a new date.   After speaking with some local Swedes, they were told this is truly an obligatory date and if I miss it I will be heavily fined or if I cancel the appointment, they’ll just push a new one back.   In addition to this, the appointment was in a different city from the original appointment so as an economical man, I have to pay the train ticket both directions, taxi cab to the location, all to speak to a professional that will reiterate the same story I was told by a professional in the United States.

So the question you ask yourself, would a private insurance company be more effective?  Fortunately this is not an urgent manner I had to deal with, but what if you had to get surgery on something that was extremely painful but you had to wait 10 months to get the appointment letter?


About Adrian Wyllie

Adrian is the former Chairman of the Libertarian Party of Florida, founding partner of the 1787 Network and the 2014 Libertarian Candidate for Governor of Florida. He has over a decade of experience as an investigative reporter, and focuses on liberty causes, government corruption, and Constitutional violations. He is a third-generation Floridian, an entrepreneur, and served in the U.S. Army and Florida National Guard.

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