‘Ridiculous’

Nikki Haley gets schooled for attempting to mock Finland’s health care system

Former United States Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley. (Photo by Stephanie Keith/Getty Images)

Nikki Haley found herself on the wrong end of an embarrassing fact check after she attempted to disparage Finland’s world-class maternity care.

After Haley, former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, implied that the Nordic nation has substandard health care, the top Finnish envoy to the U.N. reminded her that the U.S. actually has among the worst infant and maternal mortality rates of all the world’s highly developed nations.

It all began earlier this month, when Sen. Bernie Sanders decried the exorbitant cost of “our profit-driven health care system,” noting in a tweet that it cost $12,000 to have a baby in the U.S. compared to just $60 in Finland. Responding to Sanders’ tweet on Wednesday, Haley suggested that he should keep his mouth shut since he’s “not the woman having the baby,” before doubling down by suggesting that Finland’s maternity care was subpar.

“Health care costs are too high that is true but comparing us to Finland is ridiculous,” Haley wrote. “Ask them how their health care is. You won’t like their answer.”

But the one who didn’t like Finland’s answer, as it turned out, was Haley. Finland’s permanent representative to the U.N., Kai Sauer, responded directly to Haley’s tweet to inform her that Finland has the third-lowest infant mortality rate — and the very lowest maternal mortality rate — in the world.

“Finland has a high performing health system, with remarkable good quality in both primary and hospital care. The country also achieves good health status at relatively low level of health spending,” wrote Sauer.

According to the U.N.’s child fund, Finland experiences approximately 2.3 deaths per 1,000 live births in children under the age of 5. The U.S., by comparison, has 6.6 deaths per 1,000 live births from the same age group — despite the fact that U.S. health care costs dwarf Finland’s. A recent study from the OECD found that the U.S. had the worst child mortality rate of any of the top 20 wealthy democratic nations in the world. America’s maternal mortality rate is also nearly 5 times that of Finland’s.

Haley didn’t attempt to rebut Sauer, and ultimately, the public dispute only highlighted the ways that the American health care system fails women — and sometimes bankrupts them in the process.

Read the full story at CNN.

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