The fact that the US isn’t among the countries with universal healthcare and free college has been a topic of many heated political debates and complaints, especially among the Millennials faced with the prospect of repaying their student loans well into their adulthood. If they have a misfortune of getting hit with a major hospital bill as well, declaring a bankruptcy is often the only solution.
Universal healthcare is something that is available in a vast number of countries across the globe. While the programs offered by each government varies from nation to nation, they’re all based on the same concept – offering access to free healthcare to everyone, old or young. Most often than not, insurance is offered freely for the underaged and the elderly, while those in the working force have a small portion of their paycheck directed to the national fund sustaining this system.
Free education is something that is widely encountered across the globe, although college isn’t always included on the list. Many countries offer a number of free university seats while others subsidize them.
Many argue that this type of education, just like universal healthcare, isn’t actually free since it is funded by the government, who in turn gathers the cash by taxing people’s paychecks and businesses. However, the end result is offering everyone access to what they need, be it education that will provide them with a better future without having to spend half of their lives paying back the student loans or getting the healthcare they need.
Across the globe, there are quite a lot of countries that offer free healthcare, from the Americas, Asia, although the most are from Europe where this seems to be the way to go when it comes to this important issue.
We’re going to list 11 countries with universal healthcare and free college, just in case you might want to emigrate, grouping them together depending on the area, kicking things off with Europe since there are so many options here.
11. Sri Lanka
With some 20 million citizens, over in the Indian Ocean you can find Sri Lanka. Not only does this country offer its inhabitants free universal healthcare, but it’s also one of the countries in the region that have the highest life expectancy. There are many public hospitals in the country and they’re all funded by the government.
In Sri Lanka, education is a fundamental right as decreed by the country’s constitution. With one of the highest literacy rates in the world, Sri Lanka offers free undergraduate education. The playing field is quite competitive, but that doesn’t deter students looking to learn.
For several decades now, Brazil has been offering its citizens free healthcare. The universal healthcare system was introduced many years ago and is a Constitutional right as of 1988. Brazil’s students are also quite lucky as the country offers free higher education at public universities. They can choose between a number of courses and competition is quite tough for many of these, but there’s plenty of room for everyone.
Over in Argentina, health care is free for residents. The public sector is funded by the state through taxes and quite a large number of citizens are covered by insurance. There are two other options in the country – the public and the private sectors. The public sector is funded by Obras Sociales which unites all worker’s unions in Argentina while the private one is made out of numerous facilities and networks.
When it comes to higher education in this South American country, students are also enjoying free access. Public universities in Argentina, both at Tertiary and University level, are tuition free. Of course, there are side costs, such as materials needed for studying, but those are pretty much expected across the globe. Either way, it’s great that Argentina is one of the countries that offers universal healthcare and free college for its citizens.
Luxembourg may be one of the smallest sovereign states in the world, but it still takes care of its citizen, offering them universal healthcare and free education. The state provides free healthcare for all citizens, which it funds through taxes on people’s pay, with employers and employee both paying equal halves. Dependent family members are covered by those who pay insurance.
College education, as mentioned, is also free for state-owned institutions. The biggest name when it comes to higher education is the University of Luxembourg, although there are also several foreign universities campuses in the tiny country.
Living in Spain can be quite a dreamy experience due to the beautiful cities peppered across the country. The dream can get even better if you count that there’s free healthcare to everyone living and working in the country. The free state healthcare is partly covered via social security which is deducted from people’s wages, much like it happens in countless other countries.
While higher education is not completely free in Spain, it is mostly funded with the help of the state, which means that tuition fees are quite low and should be affordable for most individuals.
Germany is one of many European countries that offer a social healthcare system. In fact, they’ve been making sure all their citizens can get their health checked since the 1800s. While there are now private hospitals available where people can choose to pay for various services, the vast majority of individuals choose the non-profit hospitals for their needs.
This is also one of the countries that offer state-funded higher education. Although Germany gave a go at trying to introduce tuition fees for a few years, the taxes were highly unpopular and this pushed the government to go back on their decision. There are, however, some admission fees that need to be paid twice a year, but they include cover public transport and a contribution to the student union.
If you feel like going somewhere with a warmer climate, then you might want to consider Greece. Not only does the country have one of the best universal healthcare systems in the world, according to the World Health Organization, but it also comes with some really great views. Public healthcare is offered via a large number of hospitals, although things aren’t exactly at the same standards following the economic crisis the country has gone through in recent years.
As for college education, the Greek universities that are run by the state are tuition free and, on top of that, offer free textbooks. In recent years, there’s been a shortage of the latter, but they’re still available for second-hand purchase. Considering how expensive college could be on its own, it’s not such a tragedy to have to buy a few books here and there.
Yet another European country offers citizens both universal healthcare and free university courses – Finland. The Nordic country is known for offering everyone, including immigrants with a permanent residence, free healthcare. This is done via a national health insurance that covers all Finnish residents. Not only do patients have access to free care in hospitals, but medicine is also subsidized, while sickness and maternity leave allowances are also covered, to name a few of the benefits that come with the local insurance.
Universities are also tuition free in Finland, as the government offers funds for this as well, considering education to be one of the most important areas to invest in. Books and other study materials have to be purchased out of pocket, however.
European Nordic countries are quite happy with providing people with funding in several important areas – healthcare and education. Sweden is yet another country that offers a universal public health system that is mostly paid by the state from taxation applied to people’s wages. All citizens have access to healthcare services, including dental care, which is pretty awesome. Kids can get their teeth done for free while adults can have their costs cut considerably.
Swedish higher education is also free of charge for citizens, as well as people from the European Union and Switzerland.
Beautiful Denmark is yet another country where universal healthcare is provided for all citizens. Here, too, this is all paid for from taxation, but citizens are usually ok with this since it’s a small price to pay for a great purpose.
Danish universities are also tuition free for a large number of students, including those that have been born in Denmark, the Faroe Islands, Greenland, the European Union and the European Economic Area or the Nordic Council, to name just a few. To make the deal even sweeter, all Danish citizens are offered monthly financial aid regardless if the student live with his parents or guardians or on his own. In the latter case, the amount increases considerably.
The Norwegians have a universal public health system that, much like everywhere else in Europe, is paid from taxation. All citizens have access to any needed services thanks to the government-funded system. Dental care is also included for children until 18 years old.
Local state universities and colleges are also free of charge due to being state-funded. There are some minimal fees to be paid by students, but they are quite low and you can’t really complain about that.