When attempting to discern which countries have the best healthcare services in the developed world, things become muddled very quickly. What does “best healthcare” mean for a population? Does it refer to physician to population ratio, due to the fact that some countries do not have a high native concentration of physicians? What about the kinds of healthcare services available—can the country’s medical infrastructure support treatment for advanced conditions like cancer? Does a particular country’s medical infrastructure place a high financial burden on individual citizens? How much access to advanced healthcare services does the average citizen have? What sorts of recovery networks (e.g. physical rehabilitation) exist for patients who have had serious medical procedures performed?
All of these questions and more must be considered when attempting to compare nations’ medical infrastructures. The end goal of such a survey is to determine not only which countries are maximizing the health of their populations, but also to gather information about effective methodologies and how they could hypothetically be employed elsewhere. In other words, what can countries with ineffectively managed medical infrastructures learn from countries who distribute healthcare services in a timely manner and at affordable costs?
The World Health Organization (WHO) periodically ranks world health systems to determine baseline effectiveness of medical infrastructures worldwide. Though the United States grants access to some of the most advanced healthcare services in the world, they are often prohibitively expensive. Lack of access to medical coverage for tens of millions of U.S. citizens puts advanced healthcare out of reach for a large portion of the population, which skews the results of such a survey. For the wealthy and those with adequate medical insurance coverage (usually via their employers), there is access to excellent professional knowledge and equipment. Even when the survey results are adjusted to account for the uninsured, however, United States citizens are not particularly healthy. The United States also spends more on healthcare than any other nation in the developed world, meaning that United States citizens’ health is very poor when considering how inflated the cost of its medical infrastructure has become.
Other nations, such as Sweden and Denmark, have federal policies that provide medical insurance coverage to their citizenry through taxation. Though income tax rates in these and other Scandinavian regions tend to be quite high, citizens are privy to