Universal healthcare sounds really good but how effective it is, remains a questionable issue. This concept is very good in theory but it requires proper funding to be practically operative as well. However, not all the governments are ready to hand out a hefty budget in the name of health. Very few countries in the world feel the importance of allocating highest funds in the health sector.
Ten countries that secure the top positions for spending a hefty amount on health care according to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) which is the total value of goods produced and services provided in a country during one year. GDP gives you a more clear idea of a country’s seriousness towards the health sector instead of the physical volume of money spent.
It is better to evaluate the GDP percentage because even if a highly populated country like China spends more money than a less densely populated country like Switzerland, the latter will have a higher percentage compared to the former.
Based on the data by WHO (World Health Organization), the following are the top ten (in random order) countries having the highest Total Health Expenditure (THE) by percentage of GDP.
1. Lesotho: 11.55 Percent
Lesotho is a small southern African country. Its borders are completely surrounded by South Africa. Amazingly, this tiny country has been able to score a much higher GDP percentage in the health sector in comparison to highly developed countries like Canada with a 10.93%, Japan with 10.07% or the UK’s 9.44%.
This poverty-ridden country has a major problem of HIV/AIDS which may be the reason for so much expense on healthcare. The life expectancy is also quite low in Lesotho 52.65 years.
2. Republic of Moldova: 11.72 Percent
Moldova is an Eastern European country formerly a state of the Soviet Union. In comparison to it neighboring countries, it is quite poor with a nominal GDP of just $7.2 billion. It has a higher life expectancy at 70.12 years when compared to African countries listed here. Despite being poor, Total Health Expenditure (THE) is quite high. It may be due to the consistent outbreaks of tuberculosis in the past two decades.
3. France: 11.75 Percent
France not only has the highest budget for health, it also has the strongest nominal GDP. Being one of the richest countries in the world, it spends an average of $2.86 trillion GDP. Keeping in mind the high quality of life and health, the country naturally has high life expectancy rate too with an average of 81.66 years. France has also been recognized as a country with the best healthcare available in the world according to WHO.
4. Netherlands: 12.44 Percent
The Netherlands is famous for its modern approach of governance and liberal freedom. Predictably, this country allocates a major chunk of its GDP in provide proper care for its people. With a nominal GDP of $800 billion, Dutch people have an average of 81.12 years of life expectancy. The high-class healthcare system in the Netherlands is supported by a blend of state insurance which is obligatory, taxes including private health insurers and other means.
5. Federated States of Micronesia: 12.79 Percent
Located in the north-east of Australia, this island country has a population of just 106,104. With a nominal GDP of $277 million, this country also has the privilege of a Compact of Free Association with the US. Obviously, the healthcare is quite good with a sound percentage to support the lightly populated country. The has an average life expectancy is 72.35 years which is higher than Russians (70.16 years), Indians (67.80 years) and Pakistanis (67.05 years).
6. Sierra Leone: 15.08 Percent
Located on the west coast of Africa, this tiny settlement called Sierra Leone has a population of 6.1 million population. With a nominal GDP of 3.7 billion, this poverty-stricken can spare only 600$ per year for its resident’s survival. Although free healthcare is offered to pregnant women and few other people, the life expectancy is depressing at 57.39 years. This turbulent nation also suffers the highest death rate of mothers during childbirth – 890 deaths per 100,000 people.
7. Tuvalu: 15.43 Percent
This Polynesian country is right in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, with equal distance to Australia and Hawaii. It has a small population of just 10,837 people. With no military expenses, the country is able to generate $36 million GDP out of which more than fifteen percent is spent on healthcare. With one hospital to cater to the needs of the whole population, the life expectancy averages at 65.81 years.
8. Liberia: 15.53 Percent
Liberians are claimed to be the poorest nation of the world with two civil wars having destroyed the whole infrastructure. The nominal GDP is a mere The nominal GDP is a mere $436 per capita. The healthcare GDP percentage may seem high but the actual sum spent on health is not much because of the high population and only GDP $1.7 billion for a country with over 4 million people. At 58.21 years, the life expectancy levels are also very low.
9. Marshall Islands: 15.62 Percent
The republic of the Marsh Islands consists of more than 1,000 islands with a population of 68,480 people. USA provides the defence to these islands which allows them to spend more on healthcare from a GDP of approximately $115 million. With 72.58 years Life expectancy is quite high. However, Marshallese people are at threat for health effects of nuclear radiation. Sixty-seven US nuclear weapons were tested in the Marshall Islands which was compensated by the payment of hundreds of millions of dollars later and it also explains the defence provided by U.S.A.
10. USA: 17.91 Percent
USA is one country that spends a huge budget on healthcare with an approximately more than a sixth of the nominal GDP of $17.4 trillion. Its population comprises of 317 million. The life expectancy average is 79.56 years. However, it was more than this but the rise in obesity has led to the reduction in life expectancy. The US is at the top in spending most on healthcare per capita at $8,508.