November 27, 2015

List of Countries with Universal Health Care

Thirty-two of the thirty-three developed nations have universal health care, with the United States being the lone exception [1]. The following list, compiled from WHO sources where possible, shows the start date and type of system used to implement universal health care in each developed country [2]. Note that universal health care does not imply government-only health care, as many countries implementing a universal health care plan continue to have both public and private insurance and medical providers.

Country – Start Date of Universal Health Care – System Type

Norway  – 1912 –  Single Payer
New Zealand –  1938 –  Two Tier
Japan –  1938 –  Single Payer
Germany –  1941 –  Insurance Mandate
Belgium –  1945 –  Insurance Mandate
United Kingdom –  1948 –  Single Payer
Kuwait –  1950 –  Single Payer
Sweden –  1955 –  Single Payer
Bahrain –  1957 –  Single Payer
Brunei –  1958 –  Single Payer
Canada –  1966 –  Single Payer
Netherlands –  1966 –  Two-Tier
Austria –  1967 –  Insurance Mandate
United Arab Emirates –  1971 –  Single Payer
Finland –  1972 –  Single Payer
Slovenia –  1972 –  Single Payer
Denmark –  1973 –  Two-Tier
Luxembourg –  1973 –  Insurance Mandate
France –  1974 –  Two-Tier
Australia –  1975 –  Two Tier
Ireland –  1977 –  Two-Tier
Italy –  1978 –  Single Payer
Portugal –  1979 –  Single Payer
Cyprus –  1980 –  Single Payer
Greece –  1983 –  Insurance Mandate
Spain –  1986 –  Single Payer
South Korea –  1988 –  Insurance Mandate
Iceland –  1990 –  Single Payer
Hong Kong –  1993 –  Two-Tier
Singapore –  1993 –  Two-Tier
Switzerland –  1994 –  Insurance Mandate
Israel –  1995 –  Two-Tier
United States –  2014 –  Insurance Mandate

Personal opinions are my own and do not necessarily reflect those of all of the officers and members of Progressive Women of Colorado.


  1. Robert Heintze says:

    If we are to believe in the accuracy of the WHO’s statistics, then this information proves that “socialized medicine” works as well (if not better) than our health care system in the U.S. I have been arguing with conservatives for quite a while, in that one of their myths stipulates that “universal health care is a miserable failure where ever its been tried.” This could not be further from the truth! I have a republican friend, who is an NRA member, who has property near Tico, Costa Rica. He says that “their health care system is not only much more affordable, but better than ours.” He should know, because he lives there part of the year, and he’s not a “looney liberal.” The chart indicates that it is better by one notch. What is somewhat surprising, is the list of some of the countries that rank higher up, including France, which is ranked first. The main reasons why the right has persistantly demonized this form of health care is as follows: 1) Medical supply, pharmacuetical companies, etc. operate on higher profit margins in the U.S. than any other country (they really stick it to the american consumer)! They have bought into the fearmongering of even MUCH higher prices. Hey, if Costa Rica can do it this cheaply, we can. We simply CHOOSE NOT TO! 2) They oppose any additional form of government regulations and intrusion into our lives, thinking that their taxes (which are already at their lowest levels since the Great Depression) will go up, again. 3) They believe that there are longer emergency wait times at hospitals, and getting into seeing a specialist, under this system–when in fact–wait times here in the U.S. are comparable to most of these developed nations listed herein. What conclusion can we draw from all of this, then the fact that most of these wealthy conservative thinkers simply do not want to help pay for anyone else’s health care? I am fairly wealthy, and I don’t have a problem with helping needy people (as the Bible commands), as long as they are willing to help themselves; mainly by not abusing their bodies with drugs, alcohol, and other bad choices. Thanks for helping to prove my point!

    • Robert Duchesne says:

      Well put. The fact of the matter is that the insurance and drug company cabals would rather spend billions annually in media and through political cronyism than lose one nickle of their current golden calf business plans. I lived in France for 9 years and learned this truth your friend in Costa Rica knows all too well. Coming back to the US was a big mistake, the majority of people here are controlled by media and essentially end up automatons advocating their oppressors dishonest propaganda. Very sad but 100% true.

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