These Are The 36 Countries That Have Better Healthcare Systems Than The US

surgery doctors

Photo: US Air Force

12 years ago, the World Health organisation released the World Health Report 2000. Inside the report there was an ambitious task — to rank the world’s best healthcare systems.The results became notorious — the US healthcare system came in 15th in overall performance, and first in overall expenditure per capita. That result meant that its overall ranking was 37th.

Click here to see who beat the US >
The results have long been debated, with critics arguing that the data was out-of-date, incomplete, and that factors such as literacy and life expectancy were over-weighted.

So controversial were the results that the WHO declined to rank countries in their World Health Report 2010, but the debate has raged on. In that same year, a report from the Commonwealth Fund ranked seven developed countries on their health care performance — the US came dead last.

So, what can we learn from the report?

NOTE: The rankings are based on an index of five factors — health, health equality, responsiveness, responsiveness equality, and fair financial contribution. As noted above, all data is from 2000 or earlier and these findings have been questioned.

36 - Costa Rica

Expenditure per capita rank: 50

Costa Rica's public health insurance system is available nation wide to all legal residents and citizens.

Source: World Health Report 2000

35 - Dominica

Expenditure per capita rank: 70

Dominica's health care is administered by the state run Ministry of Health. Private health care is available however, usually offered as an employee benefit to expatriates.

Source: World Health Report 2000

34 - Denmark

Expenditure per capita rank: 8

Denmark's public health care system is decentralized, with local authorities making and executing local health care policy. The Ministry of Interior and Health issue rules and regulations that the authorities must follow.

Source: World Health Report 2000

33 - Chile

Expenditure per capita rank: 44

Chile utilizes a dual health care system, offering public care through the National Health Insurance Fund, or private care by private insurance companies.

Source: World Health Report 2000

32 - Australia

Expenditure per capita rank: 17

Australia offers a dual system of public and private health insurance. Wealthier individuals are encouraged to use the private system by enforcing an additional 1% tax if an individual over a certain income chooses to use the public system.

Source: World Health Report 2000

31 - Finland

Expenditure per capita rank: 18

Finland offers universal coverage mainly through its decentralized public health care system although a small private sector does exist.

Source: World Health Report 2000

30 - Canada

Expenditure per capita rank: 10

Canada has a national health care system with a centralized body setting standards and specifications for the 13 provincal bodies to follow. The provinces provide services and must follow national guidelines to receive funding.

Source: World Health Report 2000

29 - Morocco

Expenditure per capita rank: 99

The Moroccan system includes a public and private sector. The public sector is much larger and offers basic care while the private sector is split between non-profit and for-profit bodies, the latter providing more specialised care and testing services.

Source: World Health Report 2000

28 - Israel

Expenditure per capita rank: 19

Universal and compulsory health care typifies Israel's health insurance system, with health care providers consisting of public, private, and semi-private entities.

Source: World Health Report 2000

27 - United Arab Emirates

Expenditure per capita rank: 35

The UAE has a government-funded health care system with a private sector that is small but growing at a considerable rate. The UAE is a hot spot for medical tourism.

Source: World Health Report 2000

26 - Saudi Arabia

Expenditure per capita rank: 63

Saudi Arabia's health care system is mostly run through the government, with the Ministry of Health and other governmental bodies providing 80% of services. The private sector provides the remaining 20% of services.

Source: World Health Report 2000

25 - Germany

Expenditure per capita rank: 3

Germany has the world's oldest universal health care system. Almost 90% of Germans use the public system and the remaining 10% use the private system.

Source: World Health Report 2000

24 - Cyprus

Expenditure per capita rank: 39

Cyprus's Ministry of Health provides the government funded health care while private health insurance and care is also offered, with quicker response times and wider selection of personnel and facilties.

Source: World Health Report 2000

23 - Sweden

Expenditure per capita rank: 7

A decentralized and tax payer funded system, Sweden offers health care to every citizen and will soon extend health care to illegal immigrants as well.

Source: World Health Report 2000

22 - Colombia

Expenditure per capita rank: 49

A dual system is used in Colombia, citizens using either the private or the public, subsidized health care system. A little over 60% of Colombians use the public system.

Source: World Health Report 2000

21 - Belgium

Expenditure per capita rank: 15

The Belgian health care system is mandatory is a mixed public-private system. There are private providers with state-organised reimbursements.

Source: World Health Report 2000

20 - Switzerland

Expenditure per capita rank: 2

In Switzerland, health care is guaranteed to all citizens. Citizens must buy health insurance and in return, private insurers must offer coverage to all citizens.

Source: World Health Report 2000

19 - Ireland

Expenditure per capita rank: 25

Primarily tax funded, the Irish system is free (excluding the taxes citizens pay), offering differing types of coverage depending on one's income. The option of private insurance is available, which offers quicker response rates/less waiting periods.

Source: World Health Report 2000

18 - United Kingdom

Expenditure per capita rank: 26

The government, through the National Health Service, provides the majority of health care. Free at the point of service, the program is funded by taxes. Moves to privatize certain areas have been discussed recently.

Source: World Health Report 2000

17 - Netherlands

Expenditure per capita rank: 9

Holland's universal health coverage is achieved not through the government, which is used primarily as a regulatory body, but through private insurance companies. This system is based on private insurers competing for business.

Source: World Health Report 2000

16 - Luxembourg

Expenditure per capita rank: 5

Luxembourg has a state-funded, compulsory system with care available to all citizens. Private care is also available.

Source: World Health Report 2000

15 - Iceland

Expenditure per capita rank: 14

The health care system of Iceland is under complete control by the federal government and every citizen qualifies for health care regardless of their contribution to the system. There is no private sector.

Source: World Health Report 2000

14 - Greece

Expenditure per capita rank: 30

Greece's national health insurance program is provided by the state through a universal heath care system. Private options are available.

Source: World Health Report 2000

13 - Monaco

Expenditure per capita rank: 12

The Caisses Sociales de Monaco controls health services in a nation where all citizens are entitled to equal access. Private options are available.

Source: World Health Report 2000

12 - Portugal

Expenditure per capita rank: 28

Portugal has a very centralized health care system, with the state-run, single-payer National Health System covering most citizens. An employer based scheme is offered and used by many Portuguese though.

Source: World Health Report 2000

11 - Norway

Expenditure per capita rank: 16

Norway has a universal, tax-funded, single-payer system. All citizens and residents are insured but some pay out of pocket for private and out of state care.

Source: World Health Report 2000

10 - Japan

Expenditure per capita rank: 13

Health insurance in Japan is mandatory, either through an employer-based system or through the national health care program.

Source: World Health Report 2000

9 - Austria

Expenditure per capita rank: 6

Austrian citizens and residents enjoy free access to basic health care, as do as tourists and people staying in Austria on a temporary basis. Everyone must pay into the system, levels of payment determined by an individual's income.

Source: World Health Report 2000

8 - Oman

Expenditure per capita rank: 62

Oman's health care system is largely based on local districts, with universal health care offered to all citizens and to all expatriates working in the public sector.

Source: World Health Report 2000

7 - Spain

Expenditure per capita rank: 24

Spain guarantees universal coverage in its constitution and there are no out-of-pocket expenses -- aside from prescription drugs.

Source: World Health Report 2000

6 - Singapore

Expenditure per capita rank: 38

A government-run universal health care system coexists with a private sector in Singapore. The private sector provides most care while the government controls prices.

Source: World Health Report 2000

5 - Malta

Expenditure per capita rank: 37

The Malta system is funded by general taxation through weekly national insurance contributions and offers free coverage for all.

Source: World Health Report 2000

4 - Andorra

Expenditure per capita rank: 23

The Andorra system is very similar to the French system. Run by the government, funds are provided by employees and employers. Only about 8% of citizens do not participate in the state-run system.

Source: World Health Report 2000

3 - San Marino

Expenditure per capita rank: 21

San Marino is home to a compulsory, state-funded healthcare system with the option for private coverage.

Source: World Health Report 2000

2 - Italy

Expenditure per capita rank: 11

Italy provides universal health care to the whole population with the 20 regions exercising control and the central government providing regulatory assistance.

Source: World Health Report 2000

1 - France

Expenditure per capita rank: 4

The French system combines private and public sectors to provide universal health coverage to all. Most citizens receive their insurance through their employer and almost everyone has supplemental private insurance. The majority of medical bills are paid for by the government (funds from payroll and income taxes) and the remainder is footed by individual's supplemental private insurance.

Source: World Health Report 2000

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.