United States Italy
Gross Domestic Product per capita $57,467 $30,527
Health spending per capita $9,892 $3,391
Life expectancy at birth 78.8 years 82.6 years
What’s Their Secret?
The main reason Italians get more bang for their health care buck is that they have a single-payer National Health Service, financed out of taxes. Everyone can see their own primary care doctor and be cared for in the hospital without paying a penny, while medications, testing, and specialist exams require at worst a tiny co-pay. Add in low income inequality and a famously healthy lifestyle, and Italy has more than enough on the plus side to compensate for its medical system’s many flaws.