Healthcare in the US



The US has always been a front-runner in various fields including economy, education and health care. This country has been a global leader in medical research and innovation that’s why foreign nationals from all over the globe travel here to search not just the infamous American Dream but also the answer to their healthcare needs. 

The cost of healthcare in a country is directly proportional to the size of its economy. Next, to East Timor, the US spends the highest percentage of its GDP on healthcare when compared to other United Nations members. About half of the growth of the government's healthcare expense is attributed to the continuing development of health-related technologies or the acquisition of high-tech medical equipment. While there are many public healthcare initiatives managed by the government, the US Healthcare system hinges on two main public programs, Medicaid, and Medicare. Medicaid is aimed at low-income individuals, children and the disabled and is a joint project of the federal states and government. On the other hand, Medicare is customised to the needs of seniors over 65 years and follows the dominant healthcare model in Europe. 

"Healthcare and insurance are a mess. It’s very expensive and abusive."- Mani, Expat in the USA

US Healthcare thru Affordable Care Act (ACA) 

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) or also known as ObamaCare is a healthcare reform law enacted by the former US President Barack Obama. Its aim was to increase the overall quality of insurance, minimise the cost of premiums and to lower the country’s uninsured rate by expanding the coverage of insurance. With this federal statute, US insurers are required to accept all applicants and charge them with the same rates regardless of their sex and pre-existing conditions. ACA offers a wide range of benefits such as no lifetime and no annual limit policy. 

With the help of ACA, the percentage of part-time workers in the US dropped from 24% in 2013 to 17.7% in 2014. This healthcare reform, that took full effect in January 2014, also required most Americans and qualified foreign nationals (green card/visa holders and US Tax Return contributors) to have some sort of health insurance either from a private company, their employers or through Medicare or Medicaid. Under the ACA, individuals are required to take out health insurance that can meet the Minimum Essential Coverage (MEC).

Trump: To Replace the Affordable Care Act 

Current US President Donald Trump’s flagship healthcare bill called American Healthcare Act (AHCA) is not yet in effect but is already making waves of issues across the United States. Though the bill is still being debated in the House of Representatives and the Senate, the Congressional Business Office or CBO already released a bold statement that if this proposed healthcare reform law passes, more than 24 million Americans will lose their health insurance by 2026. 

So where is the negativity coming from? Generally speaking, President Donald Trump’s AHCA plans on freezing Medicaid expansion and will get rid of the ACA employer mandate to provide healthcare coverage for their full-time employees. AHCA also aims at de-funding Planned Parenthood and will allow insurers to charge higher premiums to older applicants. Expats, in particular, can be direly affected in terms of the possible lack of law mandate for their employers to provide them with adequate medical insurance. 

Top Healthcare Destinations in the US 

Those being said, expats bound in the United States are still strongly advised to seek out private health insurance that will keep their healthcare needs secured despite the chaotic debate whether to pass or not to pass President Trump’s healthcare bill. Though the healthcare system of the United States is at the process of shifting its form, expats can still be assured that this country’s quality of medical services and treatment remain among the best in the world. Each of the 50 states boasts a highly reliable network of hospitals and well-trained doctors as well as medical staff. Below are the 2016-2017 top ten hospitals in the country according to the 27th US News and World Report: 

  1. Mayo Clinic
  2. Cleveland Clinic
  3. Massachusetts General Hospital
  4. Johns Hopkins Hospital
  5. Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Centre
  6. New York-Presbyterian University Hospital of Columbia and Cornell
  7. UCSF Medical Centre
  8. North-western Memorial Hospital
  9. Penn Presbyterian Medical Centre
  10. NYU Langone Medical Centre


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