Free health care in Norway. Almost perfect…

As you may or may not know, health care in Norway is (almost) free. Yes, I know this is hard to believe for most people. Norway was originally supposed to be included in the Michael Moore movie ‘Sicko‘ on the workings/failing of health care systems on this planet, but he decided to take it out because the system has several similarities with the French health care system, and some parts just sounded too good to be true…
Some examples: Any treatment & examinations connected to a pregnancy are 100% free. From the very first check until the delivery: no cost at all! (and after the birth, a year of maternity leave for the mother, and a minimum of 6 weeks for the father!).
Norwegian patients treated for an illness like psoriasis or rheumatism are eligible for two weeks paid vacation at a spa in the Canary Islands. Norway hires a government ethicist to determine who they should spend their money on, because they want to do it in an ethical way.

Well, today it was my turn to experience the ‘free’ health care system in Norway.
Free is not 100% accurate since doctors do charge for their consults (NOK 160, US$ 29), and you are charged for your medication, but there is a max. of NOK 1740 (about US$315) a year. (I am not sure whether this amount is the same for all, or whether it’s based on your income…) If my health care expenses were to be more than that, the government would pick up the tab.

I went to see the doctor to have my ears checked (yes, I am herewith admitting I have a selective hearing) 😛
I arrived at 1:40pm, right on time for my 1:45pm appointment. Or so I thought…
The waiting room was quite full, but since it’s a collective office of 3 doctors, I wasn’t too worried. I had to wait until 2:30pm until it was eventually my turn. That 45 mins. wait wasn’t too bad compared to some of the stories I heard in the waiting room of people who had to wait 3-4 hours on previous visits…!
Now I do not know how it is nowadays in the Netherlands (where I grew up), but when I was young (25 years ago) I hardly ever had to wait. Every time I had a doctors appointment the doctor was all mine on the scheduled time. But perhaps this has changed as well…
Anyway… After the wait I was welcomed by my doctor to whom I explained why I was there. One of his first questions was whether I had had this specific problem before. That question proved to me that he had not looked at my medical records, because then he would have seen that my last visit to him, a couple of years ago, was for exactly the same reason as today’s visit…!
After a quick but thorough check I was handed off to a nurse/assistant (no waiting time there) who would carry out some ‘ear maintenance’. Even though the doctor told her that my left ear was a lot worse than my right ear, she decided to do my right ear first. Perhaps because it was on her left side? 😉
But I shouldn’t be complaining about the order in which she did my ears, since the result was the same: my hearing is back to 100% (well, I guess not 100%… not many 35-year olds still have 100% hearing…)
She then handed me a test kit and parked me in the examining room of the doctor where I was to wait until he was done with the patient he was taking care of in the mean time. In those 5 minutes I had time to check out the test kit I was given. It turned out to be a FOBT! My first thought was… yup, you guessed it… SHIT! 😉
My second thought of course was that it must be a mistake… Which it turned out to be, when I asked the doctor. He said that he probably ‘pressed a wrong key’. Can I conclude from this that all Norwegian doctors have a dedicated poop-test key on their keyboards? 😉
So I returned him the test kit and he did another thorough check of my hearing to make sure the nurse/assistant had done her job well (which she had).
Then he gave me a green card on which the doctors keep track of charges, in this case my NOK 160 for the medical consult, so that when I hit the NOK 1740 I do not have to pay more than that. I paid the man, and left.
However… when I got home, I took a closer look at the card. The amount on it was correct, but not the name! And not just misspelled, but my card contained the name and the fødselsnummer (birth number, a national identification number) of someone else! A serious blooper, since these national identification numbers are supposed to be kept confidential. I just hope he did not give some complete stranger a green card with my number on it… :-/

All in all, a first-class experience, with some (computer-related?) bloopers that could have been prevented.
I’m not writing this entry to put down the Norwegian health care system. I probably have a doctor who either has too many patients, or just had an off-day. I mean, it could have been worse… If he’d told the nurse/assistant to do a rectal exam instead of handing me a test kit! 😉

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50 Responses to “Free health care in Norway. Almost perfect…

  • stgeorge
    stgeorge
    3 years ago

    Interesting.
    Just one thing: the nurse “cleaned” your ears by simply injecting a water using a syringe?
    Thank you.

  • I think if you live in Norway you really should be “healthy” cause if you are not then you must be prepared to wait days and in some cases months. Even to see your GP takes sometimes a week because GPs are always fully booked. If you need to see a specialist it is even more complicated then because you need to see your GP and GP should send you a specialist. So add 1 week probably plus some weeks (one of my friend could get appointment for a gynecologist 6months after the date) and even months. So please try to not to be “UNHEALTHY” in Norway.

    Plus it is not free healthcare really, you need to pay up to around 2.000NOK for each doctor visit plus medicine, after that number you get free health care.

  • Mohammad
    Mohammad
    4 years ago

    Dear,
    I’m Mohammad 31 from Iran, dad of a recently two-year old boy named Benjamin who was born in 2010/03/10 while he was only 500 grams and his mother –was 25 & in her 32nd week of pregnancy. After being in an incubator for 56 days we took him home. He still can’t sit on his own and can’t crawl as well. Although as Doctors say he is not CP but they name him Motor Delay type. We really feel can’t do any more things for him in here (Iran) I really ask you for help and guidance even visiting experts or recommended doctors by you. If I should send you anymore information about Ben and his mother – mine if necessary- please let me now. We are hopefully looking forward to hearing from you. Thank you in advance.

    Sincerely yours,
    Mohammad

  • Hello people! Healthcare in Norway IS NOT FREE! Norwegians pay anywhere between 40-50% taxes and that is how healthcare if funded.

    • Well… You pay the same amount of tax, whether or not you actively use the healthcare system in Norway. So in that way you could argue that healthcare is free…

  • Cheryl Empson
    Cheryl Empson
    5 years ago

    I happened across this forum and decided to put my 2 cents in.
    Actually I was searching about Norway because I am half Norwegion and thought maybe I should go there?

    I had to have an emergency surgery in January. Had a large portion of colon removed. But before they would admit me, they made me apply for Medicaid which of course I am not eligible as the state I am in, you have to be disabled or blind or have children that are disabled. Anyway by applying for Medicaid it then goes to the County and the State and although I didnt know it when you sign the dotted line it immediately puts a lien on your Name. So now when I die they will get any equity in my house if there is any, or my inheritance. the bill was $77,000.00 for three days in the hospital and the surgery. They said I would be charged Medicaid rates and no interest but after several months I still can’t find out what I really owe……probably around $50,000.00
    My house already has two liens and won’t be paid for for 19 years but I guess they are willing to wait.

    I look forward to getting 65 so I can get Medicare ( I am almost 62)
    But it was depressing to read a statement above someone saying they still had alot of medical debt with Medicare.

    I hate this country. It is run by corporate greed and the medical system is run by those people who pay off our politicians and pay for their campaigns to help keep out National Health care.
    We did not get National health care. Maybe in 2014 but by then I will get Medicare. They will have a system by then for poor people to get medicaid but I bet you can’t have a house to live in etc.
    Well……..thanks for listening tome. I do like Obama but he is fighting a fight against those with billions of dollars and the money always gets what it wants.

    My great grandmother was Anna Tangen and I guess the Germans came in and took everything she had in World War 11
    and no one knows what happened to her. Grandfather stowed away on a hospital ship when a teen and came to America and heard he changed his name and that was to Ole Hagen.

    That is about all I know. Perhaps someday I can visit Norway.
    I am probably too old to get citizenship……doesnt sound like they like old people there lol but who knows.

    • You hate this country? Then you should leave, period. Listen to yourself. What you just said is you were very sick, you went to the hospital, they made you fill out some paperwork, then they saved your life. You did not pay anything, you signed your name. If you did not pay, then that means someone else paid for you!!! You are not happy with the outcome? So when you are gone, if you have anything, they will recover a portion of the money to pay for a legitimate service that saved your pathetic life.

      Let’s look at this again. They saved your life, it did not cost you anything. You ungrateful old bastard. You should realize in Norway they would have refused treatment to you based on age and you would be dead. I witnessed this first hand, and my friends are not poor, they are upper middle class with savings.

      You are looking forward to turning 65 so you can get free healthcare? Does nobody want to be self sufficient anymore? I understand we have to have safety nets to catch people when they fall and help them get back on their feet. However when it becomes an entitlement lifestyle, you are pathetic.

      It is very simple. Everything you get in life that you did not earn is paid for by someone else. What makes you so special that you feel you someone else should pay for the service that saved your life? In most countries in this world, you would be dead. And you hate this country? Unbelievable.

      • Tom Joad
        Tom Joad
        5 years ago

        He owes $50-$77K, how is that someone else paying it for him? Very few of us have the financial capital to move to another state much less another country, so that isn’t really an option. Besides, now that the US is tanking, what country would be willing to take in a huge influx of US immigrants? Having a healthcare system that is affordable for all is not some kind of handout. It is one of the things people should expect in a civilized society. To accuse people of being pathetic for getting sick and unable to pay for their healthcare here, in the country with the highest healthcare costs in the world, is pathetic.

      • You are a jerk. My friend was denied coverage because of a preexisting condition and was left to fend for herself by insurance companies that are rationing care to deepen their pockets. Norway has a longer life expectancy, full coverage, lower costs, healthier population, higher standard of living and at worst the waits are maybe slightly longer. I have private insurance and it takes me 2 months to just get a check up in the u.s. so you are clueless. Insurance companies are now at the very least forced to infuse some level of morality into their disgusting practices.

    • Coporate greed is not the reason healthcare is terrible, its all BECAUSE of the government getting involved, but you are to brainwashed to even see the problems, instead you begin by blaming corporations. Government has done nothing but screw up everything it lays its hands on. If there were no government interference and Doctors and hospitals had to compete for every dollar the cost would remain low. If lawyers weren’t sueing every Dr. that makes a mistake for way to much money then the costs would remain competitive and lower. If you ever took the time to really educate yourself on the horrors of government intervention in to the free markets you’d be amazed at how shallow your thinking is.

      • It’s thanks to the involved government that we have a pretty good/affordable health care system here in Norway…

      • you are sadly mistaken, its not government alone or corporations alone that is the problem with healthcare of in general in this country. The problem is we dont have a government run government. corporations and government work side by side. Medicare part D was a handout, to who?? CORPORATIONS. basically a subsidy to the phamacuetical industry leaving a donut hole stuck to the consumer. The FDA turns a blind eye to dangerous drugs to accomodate drug companies. 30% of premiums go towards advertising and other adminstrative costs not associated with actual care. The reason 90% of Norwegians love their health care is because the government answers to the people, not to drug companies and HMO’s lobbyists. Yes the government in the U.S complicates the system but that is because the system is tilted to deepen pockets not provide care. Same thing with the Military industrial complex, prison industrial complex, farm subsidies, tax loopholes. Where have you been the last 30 years while corporatism and government have become one.

      • Harold Piuze
        Harold Piuze
        4 years ago

        Wow I just read the 2 american’s comments since up here… being american is like being religious… you can’t argue. They don’t want any social support for anybody and keep the right to point guns at all the people they want like the vigil who shoot the young man for nothing. I had 2 guns point on me overhere… thinking about keeping my money in Canada now for vacation. Health care cost a life time…studying upper study the same… like being in debt was a right for everybody… in fact USA is one of the most in debt country of the world…own by bankers and private federal reserve. Like all our country! Keep the illusion that keeping people in shit is being free… you ever heard about humanism?

    • Per Arne
      Per Arne
      4 years ago

      It is correct that health care in Norway are free, but large number of doctors there especially the specialist doctors are dum and stupid. Norwegian doctors are the most stupid doctors in the world.

      • Per Arne, is this based on your personal experiences with them (you are Norwegian, right?) or is this a scientifically proven fact?
        In either case: Please share some details with us.

  • rafa mansour
    rafa mansour
    6 years ago

    hi my name is raf iam form i want to get teartment at norway please hlep me adout it

  • Thanks to all the stories I have read. I am anurse and I am still for the universal healthcare which has been passed. I have been a nurse for many years and have always had the company’s insurance that I was working for. One place I worked charged $240.00 every 2 weeks for a family plan. Having a daughter with acute/chronic asthma, I felt that I had to have insurance. Even though I had insurance, I am still over $10,000.00 in debt. The insurance company would do everything they could to not pay for her treatments, medication, and hospital stays. And never did they agree to pay for allergy testing or any kind of prevenative measures. Her medications were anywhere from $100–to$200 a month. Needless to say,being a single mother, I wasn’t always able to afford that and my other expenses too.
    With this new system that is underway here–I am sure it will not be perfect especially in the beginning but it has to be better.
    Now that my daughter is an adult she has had Medicaid and I feel like she is getting better treatment than she ever had with my insurance. I work in the medical field! You would think that I would be able to have better insurance and better coverage.
    The Insurance companies that line the pockets of politicians are the reason why the old healthcare system sucks!
    I am sure there is good and bad for all of the healthcare plans in all of the different countries.
    As for the elderly–it will get worse as far as the treatment goes. People are living longer + the population is increasing. I predict that euthanasia will no longer be a debate about whether or not a person can choose, but manditory after a certain age. That sounds awful, I know, but what do you call making medications–life sustaining medications or treatments for that matter–so expensive that only the ones that can afford it get it? I call that somebody’s way of population control.

    • Robert Hafetz
      Robert Hafetz
      6 years ago

      As I read this I am reading a research by LEVE, a group in Norway for suicided survivors. The availiability and quality of psychological treatment for this group is inadequate and archaic. Clearly the mental health profession in Norway isnt trained to handle these cases. One wonders of the mental health system there is inadequate in other areas as well. One glaring factor that stands out is the general poor training that psychologists and health professionals in Norway have. There wil always be severe problems with Socialised Medicine but the main problem is the inability to fix them. With limited funds somone will always get the short end of the stick. While you may be able to have a baby at no cost, if that baby grows up and has emotional problems youre in trouble. In contrast care in the US for mental health is lightyears ahead of Norway.( How Do Young Suicide Survivors Wish To Be Met By Psychologists, Dryegrov, K. Oslo)

      • Bob Warnock
        Bob Warnock
        6 years ago

        Perhaps you could follow their healthcare outcomes and this will answer your questions. thx

  • At least everyone is covered. Here in the US the insurance companies love denying coverage to save the bottom line. Health care should not be for profit. Profits encourage the health care industry to make the wrong decisions. The governmet here in the US wont bring up the fact that a healthy population is a productive popoulation.

  • Most amaricans r selfish and blind patriots they r used to say about cars untill japanese show up.This all stories is multiply by 10 ,i have freinds in many countreis and i live in America for less 20 just do not know why.This country is #37 in a world for healthcare ,what to be proud of?Vladi

  • Quantity and Quality of Life are two very different year. Life expectancy measure do not address the quality of life.

  • Hello all,
    I just came to Norway for the business trip, and I took the business visa. Actually I worked in other European country(I took the residency card in that country), and my wife are together with me in Norway. We are not the ones who can enjoy the free medical check fee. But she was pregnant, we want to visit the hospital for a pregnancy check-up.
    Do you guys know if it is possible for us to have a free pregnancy check-up or how much should we pay for this kind of check?

    Thanks a lot.

    • I would suggest giving the nearest hospital a call, and find out. 🙂

      I found a good summary of healthcare in Norway on this page. 🙂

  • Connie Jenkins
    Connie Jenkins
    7 years ago

    I am disabled and on Social Sec. and Medicare in Tennessee. It’s either see doctors, make bills and not buy groceries or go ahead and eat and die instead of some health problem. I wish I knew how to move to Norway and become a citizen. What they have may not be perfect but it has got to be better than here

    cj

  • There are sure to be bad stories of healthcare everywhere. In Norway they think that basic needs like healthcare, education, policeprotection and firebrigade. They futher think that the quality of life is better if you don`t have to worry about getting sick and bankrot.
    Norwegians say the system works !

  • Leftist American
    Leftist American
    7 years ago

    I have stories of American healthcare, good and bad. Today I wish to share a bad one. I’ll keep it short, as my head hurts.

    Anyway… my uncle is a highly skilled construction worker. He was working on a job with several others, including a young man who had just started that week, when an unsecured 8 foot long beam slipped (the young man failed to secure it, after repeatedly being told to do so) from ten or twenty feet (I’m not sure how far…) and landed squarely on my uncle’s head, compacting and damaging several of his cervical vertebrae, and rendering him temporarily paralyzed, except with off-the-charts pain. Nobody is actually sure how long he was unconscious for, or what that gibberish was he mumbled when he came-to.

    He was taken by ambulance to the nearest emergency room, at what I would have thought was a “good hospital”, no less. Several doctors (and nurses) commented that he needed to be admitted, and should be evaluated for emergency surgery (that is to say, within 48 hours).

    Well, the accident happened just after lunch. By the time the sun had set, he was being forcefully discharged, though he could not walk, and even a wheelchair ride over smooth linoleum caused him such great pain.

    The reason? He was not “insured”. No, they did not offer to transfer him to a “public” hospital that isn’t allowed to turn him away. No they did not accept the fact (argued even by his physician) that the case was clearly cover-able by Worker’s Compensation. No, he was not even given any sufficient painkillers.

    And all of this happened in the good ol’ USA, in Los Angeles, California, where the sky is blue and cloudless for 250 days at a stretch, and the babes wear bikini bathing suits… even when they shouldn’t.

    I am fairly certain he would have been happy to stay in that hospital room for a few days waiting for surgery… or even happy to be shipped off to a specialist in a neighboring country…

    Honestly, I don’t even know how to close this post, other than to say that, yes, there is something very wrong with the way USA health-care is currently run. I encourage anyone… EVERYONE, both in and OUT of our situation, to weigh in with constructive feedback as to how it can be reformed…

    But I can tell you that some of those doctors and nurses that “aren’t speaking out against our President” are the ones that were forced by hospital administration to put my uncle out on the street that day.

  • If Norway neglects the elderly why is the life expectancy 2 years more than in the USA?

    In the USA the medical system looks at the size of your wallet not the size of your need.

  • The same things happen in every country I have to wait at average 45-60 minuets to see a doctor for a check up and up to 4-7 hours in an emergency room. My father had a heart attack when I was nine I saw him fall to the ground and convulse. He was then diagnosed with short-term memory loss due to the lack of oxygen during the heart attack. He forgot my name, my birthday, and started to act like a child. We paid thousands of dollars in medical bills and we lost our new house. He lost his job because of the memory loss. We were set in our life and we lost everything because we had to pay for the mistakes of our government, not supporting us and giving us the right to affordable and/or universal healthcare.

    Det samme skje i alle land jeg har å vente på gjennomsnittlig 45-60 minuets å se en lege for en sjekk opp og opptil 4-7 timer i en nødssituasjon rom. Min far fikk hjerteinfarkt da jeg var ni jeg så ham falle til bakken og convulse. Han ble deretter diagnosen kortsiktige minnet tap på grunn av mangel på oksygen under hjerteinfarkt. Han har glemt navnet, min bursdag, og begynte å opptre som et barn. Vi har betalt tusenvis av dollar i medisinsk regninger vi mistet vår nye hus. Han mistet jobben på grunn av minnet tap. Vi ble satt i våre liv, og vi mistet alt, fordi vi måtte betale for feilene våre regjeringen ikke støtter oss og gir oss rett til rimelige og / eller universelle helsetjenester.

    I just used a translator so I’m not sure if it is correct/
    Jeg har nettopp brukt en traslator så jeg vet ikke om det er riktig

  • Gloria Brinsfield
    Gloria Brinsfield
    7 years ago

    Dear Nils,

    I too am sorry for your loss! It’s disgusting that govenment personnel see no one but themselves when creating laws. I’m sure ALL govenment cabinets/congresses/senates do not have to worry about the care they get.

    It scares me so much that our country is leaning toward national healthcare. I cannot believe there is no outcry from intelligent people, doctors, nurses, lab technicians, pharmacists….there are so many.

    Take care

  • I am an American. I recently met a wonderful elderly Norwegian couple. Let me start by saying, I am neither eloquent or an expert on the Norwegian medical system. I simply feel the need to share their story.

    I travel around the U.S for work and stay in various cities around the country for several weeks at a time. I was recently in Houston, TX (March / April 2009) and met a lovely couple- Nils and Erna. We would sit and talk in the evenings outside under a pavilion. We became friends.

    They were in Houston for Erna to receive cancer treatment. They explained that in Norway when you get old, they want you to roll over and die (I suppose because it is cheaper that way?). They explained they were fortunate enough to have resources to leave the country to get treatment. Unfortunately there are many Norwegians that do not have the resources, and too often they are treated worse than animals. Many times they are left to lie in beds without proper care accumulating bed sores, lying in their own excrement for hours and days at a time. Until they die. What they told me was unimaginable. They explained that Norway is a wonderful beautiful place to live, for young people.

    I would sit and talk to Nils in the evenings as he go outside to smoke and drink coffee. Most often Erna was in their room (she was having outpatient treatment), as she was weak from the cancer treatment. The treatment was effective and the tests kept coming back more positive every time. They explained that everyone they dealt with was very nice and professional, it was a very pleasant experience under such an unpleasant circumstances. this was in direct contrast to what they experience at home. In Norway she was expected to go home and die.

    At the end of her treatment the test results were excellent. She was strong and cheerful. She joked about her voice and her “whiskey nose” that was a result of the treatment. They were given medication for the follow up treatment to take home. It cost them tens of thousands of dollars and we talked about insuring it and what the safest way to transport it would be.

    On their last night I wanted to cook them dinner. I cut up some fresh fruit and cheese, and we cooked fajitas on the grill under the pavilion at the hotel (Texas is a great place to buy meat, and Houston is a great place to buy fajitas). It was a beautiful clear cool night. We shared stories and talked about visiting each other. They would take me fishing in Norway, and I would take them fishing in Southwest Florida. They left the next morning.

    I recently sent them an email. I have cut and paste in order so it is easier to read and deleted Nil’s last name and e-mail address for his privacy. Nil’s first language is not English, so excuse his grammar. His story is clear.

    From: Mark
    To: Nils
    Sent: Wednesday, May 27, 2009 5:45 PM
    Subject: friends

    I hope your trip home was pleasant and everything is going well.

    We will have to talk about you taking a trip to Southwest Florida. When the weather turns and you need an escape, my father’s place is on the water. Nobody is ever there, it is 15 miles from my house. It is not luxury, but it has a new pool and spa. Besides, we can go fishing!

    Your friend,

    Mark

    From: Nils
    Sent: Wednesday, May 27, 2009 6:13 PM
    To: Mark
    Subject: Re: friends

    Dear friend.

    The trip home went well, but when we came home refused hospital in Norway to help us with the treatment and the medicines we got at the clinic in Houston. In addition, Erna had constipation and had to go to hospital for treatment. There they do not treated the constipation, but give morphine against pain. In addition, she had no nourishment in over a week. She lay there without nourishment and got more and more morphine, and was only weaker and weaker gradually, but the hospital would not treat her, they had said that she would die of cancer anyway!!!! It seemed almost like the doctors at the hospital were to revenge on her because she had tried to get help in Houston.
    There are not words for what the hospital did to her.

    My dear Erna died Monday 11.05.09. A heart full of love, care, kindness and understanding for me, family and everyone around us stopped. Until the very last, she showed love and concern for me. It is so inconceivable to not hear her loving words, contagious laughter and good humour longer. Now everything is just so infinitely sad, but life must go on without her. She was my great love, and the one and only for my.
    Now it is only left all the memories we had together through 39 years.

    We will stay in touch Mark

    Your friend Nils

    —————————-
    My personal response to this is not important, it is their story. Following is portion of my response:
    —————————-
    Nils,

    I have been thinking of you and Erna, I am sorry I have not written sooner. My heart goes out to you. I cannot imagine the pain you have experienced, and are still living. It makes me sad and angry to hear what they have done to the two of you. I wish there were words I could say to comfort you. There simply are none.

    We should think about getting your story out. When people around the civilized world hear stories like this, they will be outraged. The Norwegian Government and medical system should be embarrassed of how they treat people. The system has to change, and the internet is powerful tool. However, this is a topic for us to discuss at a later time.
    ————————————

    These are two beautiful loving people. I cannot imagine Nils saying anything except the 100% truth. By definition the medical profession should be filled with compassionate people who care about the health and well being of their patients. It would not be too much of a stretch to say this lovely woman was murdered.

    I am looking forward to your responses. I would also like your ideas about how to organize this story (I am certain there are many others like it) and get it out to force improvements in their system. And prevent it from happening in ours.

    • Ole Kristian
      Ole Kristian
      7 years ago

      Mark, can you please contact me at Ole.K.Ouff(at)Gmail.com

      I want to help you spread this story as quickly as possible. If you have a MSN address or other way we can talk to eachother, please let me know

    • Lena G.
      Lena G.
      7 years ago

      I have a son who was born with a rare, it was rare 18 years age, heart defect. He was not given a chance at our hometown hospital so I had him transferred two hours away to a bigger one. We were in North Carolina and at this hospital my son did have a chance but it was only a 50% chance. Not good enough. He was transferred to Philadelphia where he had 3 heart surgeries. While we were there I met 4 families from Norway. Their stories of home were sad but they told me that their country had paid for them to come to the U.S. for the surgeries, their children had the same thing as my son. I have lost contact with them over the years. My 18 year old son is now 4 years out from a heart transplant and he is doing well. I think of those other children often and only pray that their health is as good, if not better, than my son’s.
      I am truly sorry for the lose of your friend.
      Has anything come of their story?

    • THX-1138
      THX-1138
      5 years ago

      Your story is a heartfelt one for sure. However I do have to point out that the positive experience your Norwegian friends had here in the US is principally due to having Money to pay the large fees. With 46% of Americans now considered poor with 29% living below the extreme poverty level, they will not enjoy the lovely experience your friends had in the US. Older American face several problem concerning health care. First being that if you already have health issues, then most likely you will not qualify for health insurance, as Insurance corps refuse to cover those who pre-existing conditions. Second is that the access for less wealthy older Americans is almost zero. The overall point is that most older Americans now live in or near poverty and without plenty of money, they will not enjoy any level of care or quality of life. The kind of stories that your friends had in Norway is common here in the US as well. Just walk into any nursing home not for the ultra-wealthy and you will some serious degradation and poor treatment of the elderly.

  • Dionisio
    Dionisio
    8 years ago

    If it is so great because it is almost free, how come the well off people go to the US or other countries? Is it because other than colds, flu, pregnancies which almost anyone can treat or is it that the Norwegians do not have the resources nor the skilled specialists to help you immediately? So in Norway if you need a hip, it takes an average of 4 months of pain. That’s great. And if you need a valve job or cancer surgery? Just let it progress, give the patient some drugs and we will see you in a few more months. And if you are really getting old well lets not give you the best care or any care so we can save some money. Well it is easy to fool the fools. If you cannot dazzle them with brilliance, then baffle them with BS. Let’s brag about how much we spend on healthcare for people. Soon you will be paying for mostly Muslims and Islamists when you compare birthrates. Declining Norse and accelerating Islamists. And since your defense budget is practically nil…you may all need to read the Quran.

    • “how come the well off people go to the US or other countries?”

      Well, I don’t think they go to the US:) The US consistently scores below average on results, if you’re going to go to a foreign country for treatment, you’d go to one with good results. Its not the 50s any more.

      The system does occasionaly send people with rare conditions to Switzerland etc, because the occasional trip is just much. much cheaper than building up a treatment alternative nationally for conditions that may not pop up very often.

      And I wont touch on the islam-cowardice.

  • Dorothy
    Dorothy
    8 years ago

    As for me my expierience with Norwegian doctor is just simply bad…there is no communication either about disease or tests results’ I always hear the doctor will call you if the test will be wrong’, of course never called…. Then cimply I was treated for a year on something I did not have and now when they have found out …they do not know what to dod ….sorry doctors in Norway didd not find out , I felt so bad I needed to head to my home country to find out. Maybe ‘ health system ‘ i snot bad…but nurses and doctors should be more informed and inform patients. Nurses never wear gloves whenever asked for it they got upset….the same with results when I asked for it they got upset how can I not trust doctor…maybe I do not. Norwegian do not know about their patients rights….I helped some of the friend who were treated here and doctor suggested treatment which is in use but there are newest methods and treatments he did not know of it .Shame!!! And if you change doctor your record need to be printed and sent …what is that !!! they do not have data base….. whne you are in hospital they have no medical record on you !!! so lets say you allergic and you had accident …you may simply die cause although your doctor knows but thats all….. Really strange …are we in 21st century , in one of the richest countries !!!!???? I personall feel Norway in many ways is falling behind…..I do not trust doctors… I am afraod I am chornicly sick and I fight for help…… and cry for it !!!
    Good luck to all of you

  • Oslodame
    Oslodame
    8 years ago

    the problem is not in health care system in Norway,the problem is in sloppy doctors and ignorant treating of the patients. I am terrified to get sick here in Norway after my experience last year with doctors in Oslo. I was considered lucky,since the diagnosis and treatment was chosen correct by the THIRD doctor at a row. We are talking about common desease here,which cost me 3 weeks of sick leave and almost serous pulmonory infection. To sum up,yes ,health care system is a great system, no Evert ,you did not have bed luck with sloppy doctors. Since all my friends have the same experiences, it can not be cald bed luck anymore.

  • Stavangerdame
    Stavangerdame
    8 years ago

    I´m pretty sure you (Evert) were just unlucky. Your doctor obviously was not doing his job properly, and you must have come on a busy day. However, as a Norwegian, I take offense in that you choose to write about the Norwegian health system and include this story in the manner that you did. A person with no clue about our health care system would read your text and get the impression that our system is cheap because it´s crap. Which is far from the truth. There is the occasional sloppy doctor in every country, and you happened to meet one of them.

    I have never experienced anything such as that, and I go to a doctor on the island I grew up on as well as one in the city I now live in, both equally reliable.

    I think it is fair to say that the Norwegian health care system is quite impressive. Especially considering that it was established soon after the government gained the money to do so -due to oil discovered in the north sea- merely 3 decades ago: obviously caring greatly about the well fare of its people. Many governments around the world have chosen to spend their money on much less constructive projects.
    If you get in an accident, you will not be charged for the ambulance ride, and if you get pregnant you won´t have to pay a cent for the necessary procedures. Our government makes sure that we are safe and taken care of.

    I feel extremely lucky to have grown up in Norway. While studying in the US, I was terrified of getting sick or hurt because I suddenly had to worry about ambulance costs.
    I am obviously a nationalist, and rightfully so when it comes to this. There is nothing I love more than traveling and seeing other countries, but though I love the cultures I see, every place I have gone so far has made me appreciate the Norwegian politics and economics more. I mean, college is free. Every year, no matter what job I`ve had, I get around 1000 dollars back on my taxes. Taxes here are very high, but minimum wage for a person over 18 is about 22 dollars. And if it is just an extra job, not your profession, you get a so called “free card” from the government which allows you to work without paying taxes until you´ve made 40.000 NOK, which is about 6000 dollars right now. (Used to be 8000 before the economic crisis.)

    K, I´m done.
    Alt for Norge 😉

    • Thank you for your extensive comment to my posting!

      So health care in Norway is covered 100% by the oil income? Nothing of it is paid by tax money? I didn’t know that… Impressive! 🙂

      • Its all paid for by taxes. Years ago, Norwegian politicans took a look at what happened to the econimies of oil-rich countries and decided not to spend any of the oil money. Oil money all go into a sovereign wealth fund.

        All social programs, etc are paid for by taxes. Real tax levels in Norway range from 9 to 28 %.

    • Hi Stavangerdame,
      You must be proud to be a Norwegian because Norway is better than the rest of the world in various ways.

      However I am sorry to say that the Health care is not only worrying but also disgusting. This come not only from my own experience but many of my friends who have seen Norway and the world(world need not mean USA).

      If you are bleeding to death or having a heart attack you will get an ambulance or even a chopper to help. But for everything else you need to wait untill the disease finds a cure for itself or it finds you in the grave.

      Example1: A Lung specialist finds from the reports that something is wrong with a patient’s lungs. But since the patient is not complaining about any uneasiness or problems, the doctor just keeps him under observation for years. No diagnosis/ no medication, the doctor is not making any decision. See you in 6 months at the next appointment. Thats the reply. Can you imagine what a lung disease can do to a patient in 6 months?

      Example2: A patient has been suffering for the past 3 years with a knee problem. He cannot sit/ stand/ sleep because of this. Various appointments and waiting and testing with the doctor(fastlege) takes 1.5years. Finally the doctor confirms that there is nothing wrong with his knee as per the reports so he cannot be recommended to a specialist. But the pain is real. Sleepless nights and painful days are real and the doctor thinks all is well. What do you do next?

      Example3: A patient broke his hip and was in distress. The ambulance was FREE & efficient as usual(no complaints about that). But he had to wait till the next day for the X-rays and another day for his appointment for operation. Unfortunately painkillers do not work on him due to some complications yet he had to do all this waiting for 48+hours only to find that an emergency accident has taken precidence over his appointment. Imagine the pain of a broken hip for days without pain killers and yet you are not priority. Do you have just one operation room in the city?

      Finally Dame and my dear fellow Norwegians, it’s great to be nationalist, socialist and Patriotic what ever word you use, the fact remains that if you do not find and fix the problems while you can do it, you will soon be sorry for your self and people.
      mvHilsen

      PS: Dame, No offence intended, I am just a worried patient. And pardon my English.

      • Hi Smart1,

        Those examples you mention, are they actual cases? Can you give us some sources where they can be verified?

        • Hi Evert,
          I am the patient in the first two cases.
          Hilsen

        • Don’t take me wrong, I really love Norway, but I sadly have to say that I would be patience in the example 2. Humm.. but some progress has been done, I am lucky because I finally got the appointment for the ER.. I just STILL waiting for the it!

    • It is not about luck. I have lived in many countries around the world. Only in Norway that I have experience a sloppy doctor that does not ask for patient medical history, that made a mistake and did not admit it. Now I am very skeptical about the Norwegian doctor’s skills and competence, and afraid to get sick here.

  • Fredrik
    Fredrik
    9 years ago

    I can’t say I’ve experienced the same thing. All my visits to the doctor have been on time (not a minute too late), and there has always just been a maximum of 2-3 patients sitting in the same waiting room.

    I guess it really depends on where you live. I live in the south in a small town. I’ve heard lots of bad things on the TV about Oslo especially in debate programs. But yea, maybe they just had a really busy day.

    It’s a bad thing they are considering to close up so many places, because of shortage in the budget every year it seems. So they’ve got some issues they’ve got to figure out.

    Although it might sound a bit bad, it’s a great system viewed as a whole. And I’m truly thankful that I live in a country that has such a good healthcare system.

Trackbacks & Pings

  • Obama's healthcare plan - Page 2 - AionSource.com :

    […] Originally Posted by Neijya I would like to hear more about the Australian system, if you know anything about it. Or about any of the European systems, if our YUROPean friends would care to share. I already know the Canadian system is a bunch of bollocks. I wish we had a private system on top of the public one. Free health care in Norway. Almost perfect… | Web log of Evert Meulie […]

    7 years ago

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