Should Sweden’s Healthcare System Silence Obamacare Fears?


Republican lawmakers have argued long and hard against the Affordable Care Act’s legality, claiming that the reform will drive up healthcare costs, increase insurance premiums, hurt the quality of health care, increase taxes, and blow up the deficit. Republicans in the House of Representatives have vote 37 times to repeal the legislation. Such staunch opposition begs for a closer examination of the Affordable Care Act.

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One lens through which to analyze the fears Republicans have about Obamacare is to compare the healthcare reform championed by President Barack Obama to the government-run healthcare systems of countries such as Sweden.

That is just the approach taken by Cornell University economist Robert Frank in a recent New York Times piece. He asked several Swedish health economists to express their opinions about the underlying economics of government-run healthcare. Not only were his sources economists, but “they have spent their lives under a system in which most health care providers work directly for the government.”

He further noted that like economists in most other countries, the individuals he questioned tended to be skeptical of large bureaucracies. “So if extensive government involvement in health care is indeed a recipe for doom, they should have clear evidence of that by now,” Frank wrote.