10 Countries With the Most Well-Developed Public Health Care Systems

Sintia Radu

Developed countries use various approaches to provide universal coverage. Some rely on the government, as in a single-payer approach. Other nations depend on private insurers and a third group of countries, such as the United States, have a mixture of both.

In the U.S., the debate over the approach needed to provide coverage has been roiling politics for years, and that debate plays a prominent role in the country's 2020 general elections. Candidates' proposals range from universal health care for all, to allowing Americans to choose the type of coverage they get.

Being seen as having a well-developed public health system is one of nine attributes used to develop the Quality of Life sub-ranking in the 2020 Best Countries report. The survey is based on a study that surveyed more than 20,000 global citizens from four regions to assess perceptions of 73 countries on 65 different metrics.

The following are the top 10 countries viewed to have the best public health systems. The U.S. ranks 15th.

No. 10: Switzerland

Best Health Care System Rank: 10
Best Countries Overall Rank: 1

Learn more about Switzerland.

No. 9: Netherlands

Best Health Care System Rank: 9
Best Countries Overall Rank: 9

Learn more about the Netherlands.

No. 8: Australia

Best Health Care System Rank: 8
Best Countries Overall Rank: 5

Learn more about Australia.

No. 7: Japan

Best Health Care System Rank: 7
Best Countries Overall Rank: 3

Learn more about Japan.

No. 6: United Kingdom

Best Health Care System Rank: 6
Best Countries Overall Rank: 6

Learn more about the United Kingdom.

No. 5: Germany

Best Health Care System Rank: 5
Best Countries Overall Rank: 4

Learn more about Germany.

No. 4: Norway

Best Health Care System Rank: 4
Best Countries Overall Rank: 10

Learn more about Norway.

No. 3: Sweden

Best Health Care System Rank: 3
Best Countries Overall Rank: 8

Learn more about Sweden.

No. 2: Denmark

Best Health Care System Rank: 2
Best Countries Overall Rank: 13

Learn more about Denmark.

No. 1: Canada

Best Health Care System Rank: 1
Best Countries Overall Rank: 2

Learn more about Canada.

Countries With the Most Well-Developed Public Health Care Systems

1. Canada

2. Denmark

3. Sweden

4. Norway

5. Germany

6. United Kingdom

7. Japan

8. Australia

9. Netherlands

10. Switzerland


Sintia Radu is an international affairs and global technology reporter at U.S. News & World Report. She previously reported on business and technology for the Washington Post and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. She served as the managing editor for Esquire Romania. She graduated from the Bucharest Academy of Economic Studies, and earned her Master of Arts in Journalism at the University of Missouri. She is a fellow of the National Press Foundation for a program on the impact of artificial intelligence. She was part of the 2016 Women in STEM cohort at Chicago's 1871 technology and entrepreneurship center, and helped design a multiple award-winning iOS/watchOS app profiled in the 2017 Associated Press report on The Future of Augmented Journalism. She is a Fulbright scholarship recipient and gave a TEDx talk on immigration and diversity. Follow her on Twitter, connect with her on LinkedIn, or email her at sradu@usnews.com.