Letters to the Editor

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HEALTH CARE: U.S. total taxes comparable, benefits lag

Letter by Ruth Knagenhjelm, Normandy Park on April 6, 2012 at 10:09 am | 38 Comments »
April 6, 2012 10:09 am

Re: “Norway system has high price” (letter, 4-5).

Norway with a single-payer system gives universal quality coverage for approximately one-third less money per resident vs. the United States. Practitioners are more productive from less paperwork with one plan. I know, having worked here and there as a physical therapist.

The taxes the letter writer refers to also cover universal benefits like short- and long-term disability and 10 months paid maternity/paternity leave. Also included is universally guaranteed four weeks of vacation and tuition-free public colleges and universities, including a living expense grant.

My son lives in Norway and makes about the same as my American husband and I combined, and our mortgages are comparable. I added up our taxes and premiums for benefits that are included in taxes over there and here, including property taxes (which are very low or nonexistent in Norway). It came to about 40 percent here; add the 10 percent sales tax and you get approximately 50 percent, very equal to my son’s taxes.

Benefits there – like no tuition and universally guaranteed vacation – was not included in this comparison, nor our contributions to charity here.

For benefits that all residents will use sometime in their life, a public/tax-based solution is by far the most cost-effective. It also affords people with a security that helps them focus more on creativity and innovation, which translates into more private enterprise, universal happiness and huge savings.

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