In “Lessons from my European vacation,” Michael F. Sparks writes eloquently about his vacation experience in Europe. But recommending that a monthlong European holiday will give one insight into a way of life better than in America is a fool’s errand.
Living in Amsterdam and Stockholm for nearly four years gave me an insight that is quite different from the My Take essay’s thesis. Sparks’ wife received good medical attention while in Europe, but she was a “visitor,” not a resident. Try living there. Some Swedes say, “Sweden has excellent medical insurance — we just don’t have medical care.” Stories abound, like the fellow who was diagnosed with prostate cancer, couldn’t get a treatment appointment for six months and died two weeks before the appointment.
Sparks’ essay suggests “a Spanish citizen would have paid nothing” for the treatment his wife received for a modest $400. In Sweden, the same may have been true for the fellow I described. The problem was, he died before he could get treated.
Expect to pay 45-60 percent income tax, plus 25 percent sales tax on everything you buy — then you get “free” medical care. Bring money, then get in line.
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Tom Lindberg, Kirkland