Americans seem to be stuck in a for-profit healthcare system they cannot afford, but can’t agree to change. America keeps recycling failed economic policies for fear of progress and loss of profits.

A Republican friend once told me: “Helge, don’t get me wrong, Sweden is a great country … but it’s small; besides, socialism won’t work here.”

My dear friend, socialism doesn’t work there, either. But socialism is hard at work here in bankrupting the country with its catastrophic military budget and frivolous billionaire tax cuts.

But try to tell Americans that cooperation for the common good isn’t socialism. When everyone pays a little into a big pool, as for fire and police protection, then everyone’s covered even if they don’t need the police or firefighters.

National healthcare works the same; there’s no agonizing over cryptic insurance plans through one’s employer. It’s paid directly by a portion of one’s taxes, from which you, at any time, can get the medical help you need at a low cost (not free), without going bankrupt.

There are private insurance plans in Sweden, too, at relatively low cost, in addition to the national (public) healthcare system. One of my friends pays about $60 or roughly 500 SEK/month for his entire family, which allows them to bypass waiting lines to get to specialists.

Americans quite often confuse good citizenship for socialism and can’t seem to grasp that a nation isn’t a private corporation meant to make money on its citizens, but a cooperative into which members (citizens) pay their dues (taxes), and receive lower prices and discounts accordingly.

That’s what the Swedes do, and we can do it, too.

Helge Andersson

Sedro-Woolley

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