Healthcare Systems in United States vs. Singapore

Table of Contents


According to global standards, Singapore is one of the developed countries. Besides, the country is highly populated. Lim alleges, “Today, Singapore faces health problems and diseases more akin to Europe and North America than most of its Southeast Asian neighbors” (2004, p. 84). The fact that Singapore is classified in the same group with the United States makes it the most appropriate country to compare with the United States.

Health Statistics and cost

According to Lim (2004), life expectancy in Singapore is 82.14 years. It is among the nations with the longest life expectancies. The mortality rate is 2.32 deaths for every 1000 live births. The major illnesses in the country include influenza, respiratory diseases like asthma, and hand, foot and mouth diseases. Singapore’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is $297.9 billion. The country spends 4.7% of its GDP on health (Lim, 2004).

On the other hand, the United States has a shorter life expectancy than Singapore. The life expectancy in the United States is 78.37 years. The mortality rate is 6.06 deaths for every 1000 live births. Major illnesses in the United States include heart diseases, respiratory problems, diabetes mellitus, and septicemia. Respiratory problems and influenza are prevalent both in the United States and Singapore. The United States GDP is $16.77 trillion. The country spends 17.9% of its GDP on healthcare services (Andersen & Newman, 2005).

Healthcare Financing

Singapore provides universal healthcare coverage to its people through a “Financing system anchored on the twin philosophies of individual responsibility and affordable healthcare for all” (Lim, 2004, p. 86). The government provides financial support of up to 80% of the total bill in public hospitals. In addition, Singapore requires all its citizens to register for Medisave, which is an obligatory medical savings account. The third mode of healthcare funding in Singapore is Medishield, which is a “Low-cost catastrophic health insurance scheme” (Lim, 2004, p. 87). The system helps Singaporeans to efficiently risk-pool the monetary threats of major sicknesses. Lim alleges, “Majority of the high and middle-income earners in Singapore have supplemented their primary coverage with integrated private insurance policies” (2004, p. 91).

In the United States, 84.7% of Americans have health insurance. Among them, 59.3% are “Either insured by their employers or the employers of their parents or spouses” (Andersen & Newman, 2005, p. 100). Additionally, 8.9% of the Americans have personal health insurance covers. The American government has not instituted insurance companies to cover its citizens. Nevertheless, the government has healthcare programs that cater for 27.8% of the Americans (Andersen & Newman, 2005).

Healthcare Administration

The Ministry of Health is responsible for healthcare administration in Singapore. The ministry educates the public about health matters and raises health awareness among the public. In addition, it helps in disease control. The ministry executes these duties with the assistance of numerous statutory bodies like Health Promotion Board and Singapore Medical Council (Lim, 2013). The ministry regulates healthcare facilities as well as medical practitioners.

In the United States, healthcare is open to widespread directive at both state and federal level. However, the government has given The Department of Health and Human Service the duty to safeguard the health of all citizens (Mason, Leavitt & Chaffee, 2014). The department comprises a number of agencies that work together to guarantee superior healthcare services to the Americans.

Healthcare Personnel and Facilities

Singapore is recognized as having one of the most sophisticated healthcare systems. The country depends on three national hospitals, five state specialty centers, and over 800 private clinics to offer healthcare services. As of 2012, “Singapore had a total of 10,225 doctors, 34,507 nurses and 1,645 dentists” (Lim, 2013, p. 73). The health personnel worked in both public and private healthcare facilities. The United States has a higher number of healthcare facilities than Singapore. Besides, the country has a higher number of registered physicians and nurses. The United States has a total of 5,723 registered hospitals. In addition, the country has over 600,000 registered nurses and 468,819 physicians who specialize in different areas (Mason et al., 2014).

Access and Inequality Issues

Singapore’s healthcare financing system guarantees that every Singaporean has access to healthcare services. The country provides healthcare services to both insured and uninsured citizens. Nevertheless, uninsured patients cannot access quality healthcare services since they depend on the government’s assistance (Lim, 2013). To the contrary, there are numerous people in the United States who do not access healthcare services because they are not insured. There are Americans who do not qualify for government-catered health insurance. In most cases, these people are not employed, and, therefore, they are not insured by the employers (Schuster, McGlynn & Brook, 2005). Eventually, they do not access healthcare services because they cannot afford. Such people live without the most required basic healthcare services.


Singapore and the United States are ranked among the developed countries. The two countries have superior healthcare systems that ensure all citizens have access to healthcare services. All Singaporeans are insured by the government. On the other hand, some Americans are not insured by the government. Both countries have adequate number of healthcare facilities and personnel to serve all the citizens.


Andersen, R., & Newman, J. (2005). Societal and individual determinants of medical care utilization in the United States. Milbank Quarterly, 83(4), 95-107.

Lim, m. (2004). Shifting the burden of health care finance: a case study of public-private partnership in Singapore. Health Policy, 69(1), 83-92.

Lim, M. (2013). Quest for quality care and patient safety: the case of Singapore. The International Journal of Healthcare Improvement, 13(1), 71-75.

Mason, D., Leavitt, J., & Chaffee, M. (2014). Policy and Politics in Nursing and Healthcare. New York: Elsevier.

Schuster, M., McGlynn, E., & Brook, R. (2005). How good is the quality of health care in the United States? Milbank Quarterly, 83(4), 843-895.

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