Nikki Haley, who was the United States Ambassador to the United Nations from 2017 to 2018, is facing heavy criticism for her comments on Finland’s healthcare. The dispute began when Haley responded to Bernie Sanders’ criticism of the high cost of childbirth in the United States — which Sanders blames on its “profit-driven” system — in comparison to Finland, as per CNN.
“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.”
Kai Sauer, Finland’s permanent representative to the United Nations, joined others in criticism of Haley’s comment.
“Finland has a high performing health system, with remarkable [sic] good quality in both primary and hospital care. The country also achieves good health status at relatively low level of health spending.”
Sauer added that Finland has the lowest maternal mortality and third-lowest infant mortality rate. Specifically, the United Nations Children’s Fund reports that for the under-5 age group, Finland has 2.3 deaths per 1,000 live births, while the U.S. has 6.6 deaths per 1,000 live births. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, infant mortality is used as a basic public health measure for countries around the world.
As CNN reports, a study published in Health Affairs last year found that the U.S. has the worst overall child mortality rate compared to 19 other wealthy nations within the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
“The U.S. is the most dangerous of wealthy, democratic countries in the world for children,” said Dr. Ashish Thakrar, lead author of the study.
Not only that, but the U.S. has 14 deaths per 100,000 women, which is fives times higher than Finland. All of this comes despite significantly higher healthcare spending in the United States as compared to the Northern European nation. When it comes to maternal mortality rates, the U.S. is closer to nations like Serbia and Uruguay.
Notably, Finland was ranked the happiest country in the world for the second year in a row by the U.N. World Happiness Report. This ranking comes despite extreme winters with temperatures extremes of minus 50 Celsius, high suicide rates, and a declining birthrate.
But as The National Post reports, Finnish culture is the likely contributor to their happiness. Between regular sauna visits and access to exceptional areas of natural beauty, Finns have a lot to keep their spirits high. Not only that, Finnish philosopher Frank Martela believes that the Finns’ humble ways are a big contributor to their happiness.
“This is because social comparison seems to play a significant role in people’s life satisfaction. If everybody else is doing better than you, it is hard to be satisfied with your life conditions, no matter how good they objectively are.”