Partanen, who has been based in the US for nearly a decade, is the author of the book The Nordic Theory of Everything: In Search of a Better Life (HarperCollins, 2016).
In an interview on The World, aired just as a new healthcare bill was being debated in the US Congress, she compares her experiences of the healthcare systems in Finland and America.
The show’s host, Marco Werman, notes that Finland has a universal, taxpayer-funded, publicly managed healthcare system. Partanen says that, among other things, this frees people from “an immense amount of stress and time” spent worrying about what healthcare to acquire and double-checking the fine print in various policies. That time could be used for something else: “Nordic people can go enjoy a walk in the forest while Americans are figuring out their healthcare,” she says.
Partanen does not claim that Finland’s system is perfect – lawmakers back home struggle to solve problems as they do anywhere else. However, the context is different. She draws a connection to other areas that affect health, such as urban planning: “[The way Finnish society is built] enable[s] you in your everyday life to make healthier choices.”
By ThisisFINLAND staff, March 2017