Still a responsive state? Marketization and inequalities in Swedish aged care
In comparative studies the Nordic countries are often categorized as universal welfare states (e.g. Esping-Andersen, 1990). Universalism in the Nordic context is strongly associated with post-war social democratic politics and the development of comprehensive social insurance schemes, which were established to break with the stigma associated with the traditional poor relief. Further, to promote equality and solidarity between social classes and between men and women, general access to education as well as to health and social care services was included in the development of universal welfare programmes (Anttonen, Häikiö, and Stefánsson, 2012). Since the late 1950s, aged care has, therefore, been an integrated part of the Swedish welfare system. As such, aged care in Sweden has been characterized by wide-ranging and mainly publicly financed and provided services of high quality, accessible for all citizens on the basis of need and not the ability to pay. In addition, the same services have been available to and used by all social groups (Sipilä, 1997).