Former US ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley has come under international criticism for her comment about Finland's healthcare system, which, she argued, was inferior to that of the US.
The incident started when Senator Bernie Sanders, who recently declared he's running for president for a second time, slammed the cost of childbirth in the US. According to the Vermont senator, it's a mind-boggling $12,000 compared to only $60 in Finland. Using this argument as a battering ram, Sanders called to end the US' "profit-driven healthcare system" he called a "disgrace".
In the United States it costs, on average, $12,000 to have a baby.— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) 6 марта 2019 г.
In Finland it costs $60.
We've got to end the disgrace of our profit-driven health care system and pass Medicare for all.
Haley countered by claiming that Finland's healthcare wasn't too popular among its citizens and suggesting it "skimped on healthcare".
Health care costs are too high that is true but comparing us to Finland is ridiculous. Ask them how their health care is. You won’t like their answer.— Nikki Haley (@NikkiHaley) 20 марта 2019 г.
Haley's tweet triggered a massive outcry from Finns who rushed to their healthcare's defence.
"It's pretty great, thanks for asking. We skimp on pregnant women's health so much that the infant mortality rate is almost 3 times higher in the US than in Finland. We skimp so much on pregnant women and the newborn that every pregnant person receives a maternity package (or if they choose, cash) filled with clothes and other goodies for the child. For free", podcaster and writer Taru Torikka retorted in a series of tweets.
We skimp so much on pregnant women and the newborn that every pregnant person receives a maternity package (or if they choose, cash) filled with clothes and other goodies for the child. For free. https://t.co/RFrcqlXmEf— Taru Torikka (@tarutorikka) 21 марта 2019 г.
Another user compared Nikki Haley with the former Soviet Union in trying to tell people that life in the West is terrible.
"Finland has a high performing health system, with remarkable good quality in both primary and hospital care. The country also achieves good health status at relatively low level of health spending", Kai Sauer tweeted.
1/4 Here some facts: Finland has a high performing health system, with remarkable good quality in both primary and hospital care. The country also achieves good health status at relatively low level of health spending (OECD).— Kai Sauer (@sauerka) 21 марта 2019 г.
He added that the United Nations describes Finland as having the world's third-lowest infant mortality rate, the lowest maternal mortality, the second-lowest total mortality from cancer in the EU.
To add salt to the wound, Sauer apologised for his belated answer by claiming that Finland was busy celebrating its rank as the world's happiest country.
4/4 Apologies for the delayed reply, but we were out celebrating our rank as the happiest country of the world. https://t.co/rL7eMNQuDz— Kai Sauer (@sauerka) 21 марта 2019 г.
When it comes to under-five mortality rates, Finland has 2.3 deaths per 1,000 live births, according to the United Nations Children's Fund, while the US has 6.6 per 1,000 live births for the same age group.
Despite significantly higher health care spending than Finland, the United States has the worst overall child mortality rate compared with 19 other wealthy nations in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, according to a study published last year in the journal Health Affairs. Also, the maternal mortality rate in the US is 14 per 100,000 women, nearly five times higher than Finland's which is three.
A 2018 Global Burden of Disease study found Finland to have one of the best healthcare systems along with the likes of Iceland, Norway, and Switzerland. By contrast, the US was found to have the most expensive healthcare. In Finland, the annual cost-per-patient is around 2,800 euros, while in the US' privately-financed health care system that figure is nearly 6,900 euros per patient.