Nikki Haley Unsuccessfully Gaslights Finnish Health Care

On Wednesday, former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and former Governor of South Carolina, Nikki Haley, tweeted a rather incoherent rebuke to a Bernie Sanders tweet comparing natal costs in the United States to those in Finland.

The initial tweet referring to Sanders’ lack of ethos on the subject as a male is rather ironic considering Haley is no friend to reproductive rights. As one of the few female members of Trump’s cabinet and the country’s representative to the foremost global institution, Haley notoriously withdrew the U.S. from the UN’s Human Rights Council (there are reasons to criticize the council, but withdrawing was an abjectly short-sighted decision) and advocated for traditionalist conservative “family values.”

But Haley’s follow-up tweet is where she really misses the mark:

As many were quick to point out, the problem is, the Nordic country is, well, much better at this than us.

While Finnish health outcomes related to child birth have improved over the years, the United States has startlingly seen a decline in outcomes over the past couple of decades.

Of course, as Finland is a small, largely homogeneous nation, there are possible sampling issues here, but that doesn’t negate the fact it has managed to construct an excellent health care system. Its 5.5 million population is less than 2% of the United States’ total population. Funny enough, that’s roughly the same as the state Haley spent six years running! And South Carolina isn’t exactly a beacon of pristine health outcomes. Among American states, it ranks 37th in child mortality rates and 40th in maternal mortality rates. Yikes.

As the recently announced happiest country in the world, Finland operates a universal health care system that makes it a global stalwart in that capacity. In particular, it is arguably the best country in the world to give birth in, as even the CDC attests.


Of course, because of America’s significant uninsured population, it is nearly impossible to achieve such lofty health outcomes here. Meanwhile, where the U.S. really excels is in…  health care spending!

Granted, there is very much a layered argument regarding the amount the U.S. spends on health care-related research and development, and how that contributes to our high costs. However, Haley seems to argue that Finland’s lower costs signal a lower quality of care. As Vox points out, this assumption is false, as price isn’t really a quality indicator when it comes to health care. Really, the difference between the U.S. and Finland comes in terms of regulation and how those costs are passed onto the consumer.

There are some very interesting debates to be had on the best way to optimize our health care system. And I don’t totally agree with Sanders that an absolute “Medicare for All” system is the only solution. There are a number of different systems that largely accomplish the same thing. And put simply, that is to help people live long and healthy lives.

To bring this back to Haley and the absurdity of the current moment, I will leave you with this:


2 thoughts on “Nikki Haley Unsuccessfully Gaslights Finnish Health Care

  1. Thanks for setting the record straight. It’s hard to argue with the facts, at least, it was before alternative truths became a political strategy.


  2. Also, in Finland, the government respects motherhood so much that it pays for 21 weeks of maternity leave for all mothers.

    As far as socialized medicine goes, do we cannonball into the pool, or do we take it one step at a time?

    If we utilize the one-step method, I would first like to see the US government pay the pharmaceutical companies for their research and development costs once they have a new drug ready for the market. That way, the pharma companies immediately get to recoup all of their costs for creating the drug, and then they wouldn’t have to charge such an exorbitant amount of money to consumers in order to start making a profit.

    I assume the government would have to regulate a cap on the cost to consumers in exchange for the immediate reimbursement of their r&d costs, at least until the exclusivity window finally closed and competing companies could then be allowed to manufacture and sell this drug, which would naturally keep the price low.


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