I've been following the diaries on socialized medicine, in part to get some idea of the discussion back stateside, but mostly so that I could jump in with corrections of misperceptions, as needed. I've been living in Norway for just over 3 years now, and have already acquired a lot of experience with the way the national health scheme here works. So, inspired by other expatriates who have described their experiences, I thought I would write a bit about how the system here has worked for me.
Some of the information I'll be giving out will get rather personal, but will be necessary to be able to describe the levels of care that I have received. Just hop below the fold with me, and I'll do my best to describe the system as it works here. To make it a little easier to write, I'll tackle this diary as a Q&A. This diary is not meant to be an all-encompassing analysis of the entire public health system in Norway. It's about my direct experiences with it, with some mention of problems I've read or heard about. It is quite possible that I've made some factual errors.
Hello and welcome to my first-ever C&J hosting! Coming to you from lovely Kristiansand, Norway, where summer has officially been cancelled, ice cream and beer sales are down, and the rain just doesn't want to stop. On the other hand, the tourists are even easier to spot-they are the ones in the brand new Norwegian kofte sweaters, shivering over their $20 lattes.
I thought I'd start us off with a few little tidbits about this lovely, boreal land. Norway shares a border with Russia, Finland, and Sweden, and has 1,647 miles of coastline (15,626 if you include the fjords).
Norway is a constitutional monarchy. The current government is a somewhat shaky and often tumultous coalition of the Labor, Center, and Socialist Left parties, often called the "Red-Green" alliance, which for some reason always puts me in mind of duct tape, which is what is probably holding the alliance together on many days. Just last year, Norway celebrated 100 years as an independent nation, having essentially bluffed their way out of a union with Sweden.
Thus, with one mighty swing of Thor's Hammer, we begin. Are you ready now? On three: One! Two! SWOOOOOOOSH!
Despite all research and scientific proof of the devastating environmental effects of DDT, Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) apparently believes that it should still be used today. He has threatened to block a resolution honoring Rachel Carson on the 100th anniversary of her birth
because he believed she used "junk science" to turn people away from pesticides. Link to story on Yahoo news.
I thought I was pretty well informed on who the big players among the neocons were: Wolfowitz, Norquist, etc. But today I learned another name, a man I hadn't heard of before but who is apparently rather influential to Bush, Cheney, Rove, and Rumsfeld.
I woke up this morning on a rainy Syttende Mai here in Norway--my first experience with Norway's National Day, their equivalent to our Fourth of July. And this was one of the headlines I read at Yahoo!, when I logged in to check my email: "Europeans Embrace Stepped-Up Surveillance" (link here
To say this is absolute nonsense would be an understatement. I've friends all over western Europe and they are all pretty much horrified about this whole thing. What this story says is "Well, the Europeans don't mind it, so why do you?". I can't believe (or maybe I can) that the propaganda is becoming so obvious.