The Swedish Health Care System

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The Swedish health care sector expanded rapidly during the 1960s and 1970s. In the 1980s, the nation experienced budget deficits and increasing problems with long line-ups. It became evident that global budgets and a lack of incentives to be efficient caused problems that needed to be addressed. Although the health care system continues to be publicly financed, the views regarding who should provide health care are shifting in favour of private caregivers. This shift started with patients outraged by poor treatment and long line-ups, as well as with hospital staff frustrated with low wages and poor working conditions. Swedish taxpayers, who pay the highest taxes in the world, were not impressed with rising health care costs and the possibility of increases in taxes to cover these costs. By the early 1990s, it was time for a major restructuring of the system. This report focuses on Greater Stockholm, where most of the restructuring initiatives have been implemented to increase accessibility, competition, and patient choice.

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