10 Countries With Better Health Care Than the United States

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 In 2022, America shelled out a whopping $12,555 per person for health care, more than twice the average ($6,414) of other wealthy countries. Yet, the burning question remains: Has this financial heft translated into better health care? The Foundation for Research on Equal Opportunity (FREOPP) suggests otherwise in its third annual World Index of Healthcare Innovation, placing the U.S. 11th worldwide, primarily because of the health system’s financial viability.

FREOPP evaluated the national health care systems of 31 high-income countries on four key dimensions: quality, choice, fiscal sustainability, and science and technology. Those categories were chosen to examine not only the quality of each health care system, but also the ability of that system to improve over time through scientific and medical advances. Take a look at the 10 countries that did better than the United States across all metrics.

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11. United States

Overall Tier: Good
Overall Score: 50.66
Quality: 53.92
Choice: 55.63
Science & Technology: 79.08
Fiscal Sustainability: 14.01

The United States ranks 11th in the 2022 World Index of Healthcare Innovation, a significant drop from its previously higher positions, mainly due to issues with fiscal sustainability. Despite delivering quality care — ranking 19th globally and receiving high marks for patient-centered care — the U.S. has a notable shortage of primary care physicians. On a positive note, it has risen to 10th place in terms of choice, attributed to a more comprehensive evaluation method. However, affordability continues to be a significant issue, with the U.S. having the most expensive health care system globally.

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10. Singapore

Overall Tier: Good
Overall Score: 50.67
Quality: 56.24
Choice: 53.75
Science & Technology: 37.50
Fiscal Sustainability: 55.21

Singapore’s health care system is the envy of the world, especially regarding fiscal sustainability, as it is efficiently supported by a tripartite framework called the “three M’s”: Medisave, Medishield, and Medifund. 

Medisave is a compulsory health savings account that garners 7% to 9.5% of earnings, earmarked for personal or immediate family medical needs. Medishield is low-premium medical insurance for large hospital bills and costly treatments, effectively extending the range of coverage beyond Medisave. Finally, Medifund provides a safety net for the financially vulnerable, with its endowment income financing their health care expenses.

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9. Belgium

Overall Tier: Good
Overall Score: 51.99
Quality: 52.94
Choice: 49.60
Science & Technology: 45.54
Fiscal Sustainability: 59.87

Belgium’s health care system is known for its accessibility and comprehensive coverage. It’s built upon mandatory health insurance, where all residents contribute to and benefit from the state’s health care system. This compulsory insurance covers a significant portion of treatment costs, ensuring that health care services are affordable for everyone. Belgium also prides itself on high-quality care, with a well-developed network of hospitals and clinics, and a focus on preventative care to maintain public health.

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8. Sweden

Overall Tier: Good
Overall Score: 52.03
Quality: 66.67
Choice: 50.47
Science & Technology: 46.55
Fiscal Sustainability: 44.43

Sweden’s health care system is well-regarded globally, securing the 8th position in the 2022 World Index of Healthcare Innovation, with an overall score of 52.03. Renowned for its universal coverage and commitment to ensuring equal access to health care services for all citizens, Sweden’s health care system is funded primarily through taxation. As for the quality, the score says enough — Sweden invests significantly in health care research and development, contributing to its reputation for innovation in medical science and technology.

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7. Denmark

Overall Tier: Good
Overall Score: 52.41
Quality: 58.15
Choice: 49.07
Science & Technology: 53.21
Fiscal Sustainability: 49.21

Another Scandinavian country on this list, Denmark’s health care system ranks No. 7 with its efficient, top-notch care, all thanks to its universal coverage funded by taxes. This setup offers everyone free or subsidized access to a broad spectrum of health care services, ranging from GP visits to specialized treatments. The hallmark of Denmark’s health care is its focus on patient-centered care and seamless integration of services, emphasizing prevention and chronic disease management through a comprehensive primary care network.

Denmark is also at the forefront of health care innovation, especially in digital health, using electronic health records and telemedicine to boost efficiency and patient outcomes.

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6. Israel

Overall Tier: Good
Overall Score: 52.69
Quality: 54.93
Choice: 52.55
Science & Technology: 45.05
Fiscal Sustainability: 58.24

Renowned for high standards of care, innovation, and efficiency, Israel stands out as the only Middle Eastern country to achieve such a high ranking in the global health care innovation index. The health care in the country is funded through a combination of government sources and compulsory health insurance.

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5. Australia

Overall Tier: Good
Overall Score: 53.29
Quality: 63.52
Choice: 65.76
Science & Technology: 33.11
Fiscal Sustainability: 50.77

The Land Down Under is among the top five countries globally with an exceptional health care system. Its blend of public and private services ensures comprehensive coverage for citizens and permanent residents. The country excels in preventive care and public health initiatives, highlighted by its extensive vaccination programs and screening services, which reflect its dedication to the well-being of its population.

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4. Germany

Overall Tier: Elite
Overall Score: 58.42
Quality: 46.98
Choice: 69.33
Science & Technology: 47.16
Fiscal Sustainability: 70.22

Germany’s health care system, ranked within the elite tier in the global health care innovation index, exemplifies a model of efficiency, quality, and universal coverage. Fiscal sustainability is Germany’s strong suit, with low public health care spending relative to GDP. Renowned for its robust statutory health insurance system,  Germany ensures that all residents have access to comprehensive health care services.

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3. Netherlands

Overall Tier: Elite
Overall Score: 59.86
Quality: 60.02
Choice: 65.91
Science & Technology: 49.13
Fiscal Sustainability: 64.38

Consistently ranked among the best in the world, the health care system in the Netherlands is known for its high standards of care, innovative health care solutions, and equitable access. The Netherlands maintains fiscal sustainability ranked 7th through universal private insurance, managing stable public health care spending relative to its GDP. One of the key strengths of the Dutch system is its patient-centric approach. Patients have a significant say in their health care choices, including the freedom to choose their health care providers.

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2. Ireland

Overall Tier: Elite
Overall Score: 60.04
Quality: 66.14
Choice: 62.59
Science & Technology: 42.22
Fiscal Sustainability: 69.23

Securing the 2nd spot in the 2022 World Index of Healthcare Innovation, Ireland’s health care system is highly regarded globally. The country benefits from a balanced approach, combining semi-private health insurance with public services, excelling in quality, choice, and cost-effectiveness amidst a flourishing economy. Efforts to regulate drug prices through international comparisons, coupled with attractive tax incentives, have made Ireland a hub for pharmaceutical giants. In terms of health care quality, Ireland leads in disease prevention and boasts an impressive health care infrastructure. Yet, patient choice faces some limitations, notably in the selection of specialists and potential out-of-pocket expenses.

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1. Switzerland

Overall Tier: EliteOverall Score: 66.49Quality: 69.39Choice: 65.54Science & Technology: 62.56

Fiscal Sustainability: 68.47

Switzerland secures the top spot in the 2022 World Index of Healthcare Innovation, establishing itself as the unrivaled health care powerhouse of the world. This elite-tier system stands as a model of excellence in Quality, Choice, and Science & Technology. With its world-class infrastructure, including one of the highest nurses per capita and stellar hospital capacity, Switzerland sets the global benchmark in disease prevention and patient-centered care. 

This article was produced and syndicated by MediaFeed.

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