Tuesday, July 19, 2005

And now a word on Finnish socialized dental care, via Helsingin Sanomat:

“Long Lines For Dental Care In Helsinki

"Up to 6200 people are in line to receive dental care in the county of Helsinki. The waiting time for care could be as long as half a year.

In acute cases a doctor’s appointment can be received on the same day, but that does not guarantee that treatment will begin in a reasonable amount of time.

Helsinki would require dozens of new dentist and dental assistant teams for waiting times to be reduced to a few weeks.

According to Helsinki’s Director of Dentistry Seppo Helminen, the dental care capacity of the city would be adequate for a city the size of Tampere.”

21 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

By the way, are there any statistics about people with missing teeth? I would really love to see how the Land of God fared in that comparison, particularly against an eeeevil socialist welfare state such as ours.

12:33 PM  
Blogger Finnpundit said...

If there is one thing an American visitor notices in Finland, it's the poor quality of the Finns' teeth. Dental appearance is not a high priority for Finns, where children rarely wear braces. Thus you'll often come across people with yellowed, snaggle-toothed grins that look like crooked tombstones in badly tended graveyards.

10:33 AM  
Blogger Mikko Sandt said...

It sucks. It sucks to have an aching tooth for months. And if you go and have it fixed at some privately funded dentist you still have to pay for public healthcare through taxation - even if you don't participate. There's no way out of this thing - they're not giving any real options.

7:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You must mean that the middle class doesn't feel like whitening their teeth every two weeks is a high priority. However, I feel that one encounters toothless white trash a bit less frequently here.

And by the way, msandt: There is at least one option: move out. This is an option that I would like to see more whiners take advantage of.

7:12 PM  
Blogger Mikko Sandt said...

And by the way, msandt: There is at least one option: move out.

Don't worry - I will once I get that Green Card.

8:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Green Card? I take it that you're not very competent, as anyone with serious skills will easily get an H1B visa. In case you didn't know, life as a burger flipper in the Land of God ain't that sweet...

9:39 PM  
Blogger Finnpundit said...

Move out? That is something Finland simply can't afford. In fact, Halonen pushed through changes in Finnish citizenship laws to make repatriation of expats easier.

A welfare state is doomed if it its tax base is diminished.

As to visas, there are many alternatives. All the Finnish expats in the US that I know are certainly not flipping burgers, - simply because there is such a demand for even half-educated labor. As for visas, if there is a will, there is a way.

5:53 PM  
Blogger Finnpundit said...

The long waiting lines for social services in Finland are a barometer for something else: the welfare state is not working as promised. As in the Soviet Union, it was the waiting lines where the shortcomings of a planned economy manifested themselves. True, the citizenship would enjoy the benefits of a wise and an all-knowing state... eventually. That eventuality, of course, stretched from hours and hours waiting to buy some toilet paper or soap, - to years and years to be able to get the use of an apartment or car.

The key to keep in mind in a partly-free, social democratic welfare state is that social freedoms are used as a kind of distraction from the inefficiencies of high taxation. In such a system, an alternative model - such as the United States - is attacked not in well-reasoned economic terms, but in emotional, bigoted terms.

6:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The long waiting lines for social services in Finland are a barometer for something else: the welfare state is not working as promised.

Oh yes. The poor in our eeevil socialist welfare state might have to wait a few weeks for dental care. The poor in the USA have to wait all their lives. I opt for a few weeks.

The fact that the Finnish expatriates in the USA are not flipping burgers has a lot to do with the fact that the eeeeevil socialist welfare state has provided them with a decent education. As for yourself, you mentioned that you have been educated at private universities in the good ol' USA. May I ask how this was funded? Rich daddy, no?

As for the "high" taxes in Finland, the cost of health insurance in the USA can be as high as $1200/month. Incidentally, that's about as much as I pay income tax and I'm a pretty well paid individual by Finnish standards.

In such a system, an alternative model - such as the United States - is attacked not in well-reasoned economic terms, but in emotional, bigoted terms.

Oh Christ, gimme a break. Your entire blog is emotional and bigoted. So what's your beef with Finland? Let me guess: despite your rich daddy buying you a fancy (possibly) Ivy League degree, you found that more competent people from poorer families are more succesful than you?

6:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Move out? That is something Finland simply can't afford. In fact, Halonen pushed through changes in Finnish citizenship laws to make repatriation of expats easier.

Any society can afford a few yahoos moving out on ideological grounds because they worship robber baron capitalism. Of course, the fact that Finnish companies tend to pay peanuts to their employees might be a slightly bigger threat, but that issue is not relevant to the eeeeeeevil socialist welfare state. At least high tech jobs won't be moved to China since high tech workers are already earning Chinese salaries. :)

7:08 PM  
Blogger Finnpundit said...

What are you talking about - a few weeks? The article in Helsingin Sanomat clearly says that people have to wait for six months for dental care in Helsinki.

As for emotional ranting, I tend to think your posts are clearly an evidence of that. It seems to me that that is the only thing Finns can do nowadays: scattershot personal attacks and unreasoned ripostes.

It seems that this has only increased as the EU receives more bad news, almost on a daily basis.

But perhaps it's also due to the good economic news the US receives... also on a daily basis.

10:04 PM  
Blogger Mikko Sandt said...

May I ask how this was funded? Rich daddy, no?

Not every good university in the US is expensive. My little-cousin is going to start attending at a university in Virginia that's only about 3000$ a year. Besides - high quality education is ALWAYS worth it. And if Americans can afford this then I don't see the problem. We don't have much alternatives to our school system.

10:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Puntti:
What are you talking about - a few weeks? The article in Helsingin Sanomat clearly says that people have to wait for six months for dental care in Helsinki.

Well, actually the article said that the waiting times can be as long as six months, not that everyone has to wait for six months. But even so, we have six months against a lifetime. I still opt for the six months.

As for emotional ranting, I tend to think your posts are clearly an evidence of that. It seems to me that that is the only thing Finns can do nowadays:

Some even start hateful, one-sided blogs with infantile sycophantic adoration of the United States.

But perhaps it's also due to the good economic news the US receives... also on a daily basis.

Good economic news from the USA are a bad thing to any European, particularly a Finn, only in your paranoid delusional universe. But you should keep your pants on despite some good news trickling down the last few days.

MSandt:
Not every good university in the US is expensive.

This is debatable and depends on whether you consider $30,000/year expensive.

My little-cousin is going to start attending at a university in Virginia that's only about 3000$ a year.

How sweet. And what's the major? Cheerleading or bullriding?

Besides - high quality education is ALWAYS worth it.

Yes, if you can afford it.

And if Americans can afford this then I don't see the problem.

Well, a large number of people in America can't, like they can't afford e.g. healthcare or dental care. Let's just pretend they don't exist and we don't see a problem. See no evil, hear no evil...

5:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Finnpundit wrote:
"What are you talking about - a few weeks? The article in Helsingin Sanomat clearly says that people have to wait for six months for dental care in Helsinki."

Maybe you shouldn't consider everything you read in a newspaper the sole truth and notthing but the truth?

I've been using dental services in Espoo and Helsinki (HUS, Helsinki-Uusimaa Healthcare District) for several years with my troublesome teeth. I've had two teeth removed, several fixed and other operations, and waiting times have been only from 1-4 weeks.

My employer actually offers basic healthcare services, but they don't cover dental visits. Then I've also visited a private dentist in Espoo, but they couldn't fix these, because they didn't have some special equipment.

I've also tried to get a private voluntary healthcare insurance, but tehy wouldn't sell it to me because of my basic health level.

At least I'm very happy we still have some public healthcare in Finland, because I maybe wouldn't have got as fast and good service elsewhere.

And if I get back to this original news item in Helsingin Sanomat, why would they in the healthcare sector there are too long lines? Of course because they compete in funding with other areas of the public sector. If you ask anyone in the public sector, they're always in need of money and other resources.

7:14 PM  
Blogger Finnpundit said...

...why would they in the healthcare sector there are too long lines? Of course because they compete in funding with other areas of the public sector. If you ask anyone in the public sector, they're always in need of money and other resources.

Oh, wow, we might be seeing a breakthrough here: a thick-skulled Finn could possibly be seeing the light!

You'd think?

Nah!

10:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, wow, we might be seeing a breakthrough here: a thick-skulled Finn could possibly be seeing the light!

You'd think?

Nah!


Me neither, I don't think this blog is going anywhere.

6:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Oh, wow, we might be seeing a breakthrough here: a thick-skulled Finn could possibly be seeing the light!"

I have to admit I don't quite understand your point. First you argued that long lines in public dental care services show how badly the Finnish public sector works. I wanted to note that the situation might not be as bad as news tell, because these issues have always been about politics:

If they (in the public sector) report having well enough resources, someone might come and cut part of it. If they complain about long waiting times and lack of resources, they might get more money. Neither statements actually prove how bad or well people are actually getting services they pay for (in form of taxes).

Anyway, I've never lived abroad, so I can't say our system is the best or even one of the best. Still I wouldn't be willing to change something else, because this one is working for me. And I haven't yet seen a model that would solve the major problem which is fast aging of majority of middle age people in the whole of Europe.

7:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Newsflash for everyone:
Finland, USA and Mexico has the most unequal health care from western countries. Health care for poor just does not worl. Period.

5:30 AM  
Blogger the adventuress said...

Memo to "Anonymous" The US funds healthcare "for the poor" to the tune of about 300 billion dollars per year. (That is only the federal expense -- state and local governments may fund more healthcare services out of their own tax revenues. Because each state and even each city or county has a different approach, it's hard to quantify how much the locals spend.)

The federal programs are called Medicaid and Medicare. The annual budget for these programs is mirrored on many US government websites. Anyone can verify what I just wrote.

Personal anecdote: I was hospitalized once under Medicaid in a private hospital many years ago when I was a single parent with low income. I got a private room all to myself, while privately insured patients had to share their room with another patient. Even though I benefited from the situation, I thought even then it was unjust for me to get top treatment at public expense while others who paid for their own insurance got a lesser treatment.

I love Euros who pontificate so confidently about what America does and doesn't do, while not even bothering to investigating whether their prejudices are correct.

1:31 PM  
Blogger the adventuress said...

I mean, in a nutshell, I just l-u-u-v Euros who think they are so smart -- but can't even be bothered to investigate 5 minutes worth of googling time to find information that's readily available to the whole world.

1:33 PM  
Blogger the adventuress said...

Actually, my figures are off a bit: $300 billion is for Medicare ONLY (elderly and disabled):

http://www.aapmr.org/hpl/legislation/bushf5budget.htm

Another $250 billion or so for Medicaid (low income people), puts the federal spending on these two programs at more than 1/2 trillion dollars.

Of course, the programs probably aren't administered properly -- they're welfare state programs after all. So there's bound to be inefficiencies and screw ups. But to say that there is no healthcare access for poor people in the US is a big fat lie, though many Euros do seem to take this lie as gospel fact. What does that say about them?

1:40 PM  

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