In June 2017, the United States Senate rejected a third attempt under President Donald Trump to repeal the Affordable Care Act. This failure was the latest development in the United States to move slowly towards social health care.
In reality, however, the United States has long been one of the worst balances between the health care costs of every citizen and the benefit they receive.
In the rest of the world, citizens pay much less, or nothing, and often receive higher quality care, with higher life expectancy and lower rates of disease.
So, we wanted to know, which countries get with the most out of their healthcare?
Since 2012, the Bloomberg Efficiency Index for Health Care Efficacy has completely measured this balance, as of 2016, Spain has been one of the top three ranked countries.
Spain is an above average representation of healthcare in OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) countries, and spends roughly twenty-six hundred dollars per person with an average life expectancy of nearly 84 years.
About ten percent of the country’s GDP (Gross domestic product) goes towards healthcare costs, which are largely subsidized by the government. This system of socialized medicine is globally known as “single-payer”, and most citizens see no out-of-pocket expenses when they visit public hospitals.
In fact, the right to healthcare is guaranteed in Spain’s constitution. However, this system also leads to complaints about delays in seeing doctors beyond primary care, or getting specialized surgeries.
Another country with universal healthcare that ranks second in the Efficiency-Index is Singapore.
Unlike Spain, Singapore requires that care is NEVER provided for free, in order to avoid wasteful use of the system. Instead, healthcare costs are kept artificially low through government subsidies, which compared to Spain, only use 1.6% of Singapore’s GDP.
In addition to implementing price controls on medical care and medication, the country uses a system known as Medisave, This is a medical savings account where up to 9 percent of employee salaries are required to be deducted and set aside and can be used for personal or family care. This combination means that health care costs are low, while quality is one of the best in the world.
But overall, the best, and most efficient healthcare system is reportedly in the autonomous territory of Hong Kong.
Interestingly, the territory uses a combination of private and public care, with one of the highest life expectancies in the world, costing just $2000 dollars per citizen, and comprising just 3% of the GDP.
However, Hong Kong’s high ranking healthcare may not be exactly what it seems at first glance.
First of all, while public healthcare plans can be purchased at low costs, the wait to see specialists or to get certain surgeries can be excessive, with some sources claiming 5 year wait lists.
On the other hand, private hospital care is speedy but unfortunately too expensive. This combination of low-cost care for routine visits and medication, with high priced elective or specialized care makes Hong Kong’s system incredibly efficient, and difficult to overburden, thereby avoiding raising costs for everyone.
While these three countries get the most bang for their buck, with very high standards of care and life expectancy, they are also difficult to apply broadly around the world.
Singapore and Hong Kong have populations of under ten million people, meaning that most health factors are uniform throughout the region and population.
Compared to the aforementioned countries, the United States is vastly populated with a population of more than 320 million, which makes implementing central or paid health care to one person more difficult without serious complications. However, healthcare costs in the United States are astronomical, as medical bills are the primary cause of bankruptcy for Americans. The question remains why healthcare in the USA is so expensive ?