The kraamverzorgster checks vital signs, offers tips on breastfeeding, and even helps with laundry and lunch. It’s a universal, government-subsidized, cost-free program. If a kraamverzorgster has a baby she’s entitled to a kraamverzorgster of her own.
In the US you have a baby, get sent home basically immediately, and then you have a customary 6 week check-up, the financial terms of which are dependent on your insurance plan, just like everything else.
Mothers who receive comprehensive prenatal and postnatal care are three times less likely to die in or due to childbirth. Like clockwork, the US maternal mortality rate is three times higher than in the Netherlands.
The Dutch healthcare system is largely government subsidized, but they don't have full socialized medicine. Finland has something a lot closer: the state offers universal tax-funded health insurance and operates the healthcare facilities themselves.
As part of this, Finland offers free municipally-run maternal health clinics. From the first sign of pregnancy to the first day of kindergarten, families can get all their basic medical needs met here at no cost. Everyone pays for this and everyone uses it.
It costs an average of $3k out of pocket here to have a baby. I’ve heard from people who said it cost them $14k *with* insurance. I’ve heard from people who owe thousands for the stillbirth of a child—in debt for the most traumatic experience of their lives.
I mean I guess that’s a type of freedom, kind of like how I’m free to pay half my income to this landlord or that one. But there are more precious types of freedom in this life, ones that are actually worth protecting.
For instance, to stay on the housing example: the freedom to move in with your partner because you’re ready to take that step together, not because you need to split rent to stay in your city as prices skyrocket.
And in the instance of healthcare: the freedom to make the choice to become a parent based on your preparedness to bring a child into the world, not whether you have ton of cash in the bank in case things go wrong or the insurance company plays dirty.
Single-payer and socialized insurance sound wonkish and abstract, but this stuff really is about the most intimate decisions of our lives, and securing the freedom to make those decisions without the intrusion of private profit machines.
There are more important kinds of freedom in this world than the freedom to select and purchase commodities. We’re talking about liberty to spend our short time on this earth the way we’re meant to, as emancipated beings.
We need to start banishing private enterprise from the intimate zones where we make our most personal decisions, and to do so we need to reclaim the word freedom from the capitalists and assholes. [end!]