Breathe Easy

A lesson on Danish healthcare.

Whenever someone applies for a visa to stay in Denmark for more than three months, he/she is automatically eligible to apply for a CPR number (Det Centrale Personel register), which provides access to:

  • Opening a bank account
  • Taking out insurance
  • Joining a library and borrowing books
  • Access to publicly funded healthcare though a CPR number is not needed for emergency treatment
  • Salary payment
  • Buying a house

Awesome, right? Unfortunately, I am not eligible for a CPR number, so there goes free healthcare. Yet despite the many flaws of the American health care system, I found out yesterday that my parents health insurance will still cover me while I’m abroad. This is GREAT, because my roommate has shingles, and I have a cold.

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Bad stuff.

Now I don’t need to worry about getting shingles. I only need to worry about turning 26.

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When I’ll be over the hill. This is weird, right? An iron bull cutout on a hill? It’s about 10 feet tall. Maybe it’s normal, but its a few streets behind my apartment and I don’t get it.

This does outline yet another reason for why Danes are happy to pay taxes that range from 30% to 60% of their income – to create an insular world where everyone has access to free healthcare and a salary, a wonderland where university students are given free education and government stipends to cover living costs. It places a lot of trust is in the system, but from what I can tell, all 5.5 million Danes seem to be pretty ok with it unless they’re against education or healthcare or believe in the merits of anarchy.  I’m not sure how deeply in debt the government is though… probably not as deep as the US.

After work today I met my shingle-y roommate at Amager Strand for some sea air that did good for all of our sinuses. Amager Strand is the beach that covers the entire west coast of Copenhagen. The shore of Sweden is just to the right of this picture, on the horizon. You can also see the windmills that power over 30% of Denmark’s electrical power. Nobody here was worried about too much of anything. Breathing comes easy.

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