United States Has a Lot to Learn from Finland in Terms of Health Care

To those who have given birth in the United States, they know just how expensive it is. From the procedure to the additional skin-to-skin cost of merely holding your child after giving birth. And figuring out just how much it might cost you is a near impossible task.

Earlier this month Bernie Sanders had a dispute with Nikki Haley, a former Trump administration official, on the cost of birth in the United States. Sanders mentioned in a tweet, the average price of delivery was $12,000, while in Finland, it’s only $60. He continued calling our health care system a disgrace and profit-driven. A few days after the tweet, Haley responded that Sanders is not a woman giving birth so he shouldn’t be talking about this sort of thing. She said Finland’s cost was minimal due to their lack of care with the pregnant women in their hospitals. While Haley admitted the care costs in the United States are too high, comparing them to Finland and their supposed poor health care is ridiculous.

However, those who have done the research know the better option if given a choice. Cost does not equate to quality. The money Americans spend doesn’t buy much.

Finland Outperforms the United States in Childbirth Satisfaction with Families

Finland rises above the U.S. in regards to childbirth in about every measure. Death rates of mothers are the lowest in the world in Finland. Meanwhile, the U.S. ranks 46th in maternal deaths with 14 every 100,000 births. This is in the lowest tier of mortality rates in any developed country. Not to mention our infant mortality rate is three times more than Finland. About one-third of the babies in the US are born via Caesarean section compared to 1 in 6 for Finland. Some women in the US even labor in hallways or waiting rooms due to the lack of birthing rooms available for them.

And these less than ideal results seem to cost a lot of money. While most don’t pay the $12,000 bill average for vaginal birth ($17,000 for C-section), they’re still paying four-figure sums. Over half of the families with insurance through their employer have a deductible of over $1,000. The average out-of-pocket cost for moms from beginning to end is just over $1,600 or $2,000 for a C-section.

We now have various posts and sites saying how to save a few dollars here and there through the process. Forgoing the epidural can save thousands. And studying your plan in detail is essential to understand what you will pay.

Finland’s Childbirth perks

Although this doesn’t mean the healthcare of Finland is problem-free. A health-care reform taken to cut costs as the population ages, is causing a lot of controversy. However, most of Finland is happy with their system, and who can blame them? The Finnish get much more for much less. With birth costing only $60, so long as they’re under the country’s health-care plan, new parents don’t need to worry about finances and can focus on the latest member of their family. Not to mention, Finland gives every family a free baby sleep box with an assortment of accessories for the baby such as clothes, toys, towels, and even a snowsuit.

And we haven’t even mentioned the lack of paid family leave for new parents in the U.S. A quarter of mothers are back at work within two weeks. Childcare also costs more than sending a child to a public university in most of the states. Finnish mothers, however, have about 16 weeks of maternity leave and fathers are granted two months. Not to mention the subsidization of childcare as well. A survey released earlier this week showing Finland as the happiest country in the world.