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In Sweden, the emergence of a two-tier health system

In France, Camilla Läckberg is known for her detective novels, which have sold nearly 30 million copies in some sixty countries. In Sweden, this influencer with 296,000 followers on Instagram, a graduate of the Gothenburg business school, is also a formidable businesswoman, with multiple interests. This is how in December 2019 she announced, with great fanfare, her foray into the health sector, with the opening of a private clinic, Hedda Care, in Stockholm, reserved for women.

Read also: Article reserved for our subscribers In Sweden, 157 euros for a consultation in the private clinic of Camilla Läckberg, the queen of thrillers

In a few days, this project has become the symbol of all the excesses of a two-tier health system, more and more distant from the universal model which has made the pride of the Swedes. Because the clinic of the queen of thrillers, located in the chic district of Stureplan, is reserved for a very particular public: that of patients who have taken out private health insurance, capable of covering the exorbitant price of consultations.

In 2000, around 100,000 Swedes had taken out private health insurance. Today, they are seven times more, in a country of 10 million inhabitants. In 60% of cases, the insurance is paid for by the employer. According to the organization of Swedish insurers Svensk Försäkring, the rate can vary from 300 to 600 crowns on average per month. The advantage in case of health problems: the possibility of obtaining a consultation quickly, avoiding long queues

Opening to competition of medical practices

Nothing exceptional so far. Except that in Sweden, a large majority of private clinics, in contact with insurance companies, are also under contract with the regions, responsible for health, and therefore largely financed by taxpayers’ money. However, if most establishments deny it, several journalistic investigations have revealed in recent years that patients with private insurance generally obtain a priority appointment.

“It goes against the health law, which says that care must be provided on the basis of need”, observes John Lapidus, professor of economics at the University of Gothenburg. This Swedish welfare state specialist criticizes privatization “which is gradually creating an A team and a B team in the health sector”. He denounces a system that bites its own tail: “The more the health sector is privatized, the more it uses private financing, and the more insurance develops, the more there is pressure to open private clinics. »

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