A Comparison of United States versus Italian Healthcare

Welcome to Italy! Moving to a new country can be thrilling yet terrifying, especially when considering healthcare. There are a few things to know before making the official move to Italy. When it comes to the Italian healthcare system there are some major differences from the United States Healthcare system you have always known. These differences are something to consider and crucial to understand between the two healthcare systems.

In this blog post, we will dive into the key differences between the healthcare systems, so by the end, you will be an expert!

Analysis of Healthcare Quality and Outcomes in the United States and Italy

The reputation of the United States is delivering the highest quality of healthcare in the world, with major technological advancements in their procedures. While the United States is effective in the sense of technology and treatment, it lacks the quality of accessibility to healthcare. This factor impacts the effectiveness of their system heavily since many citizens are unable to access the excellent quality of healthcare.

The open accessibility to the Italian healthcare system for its citizens allows its system to provide effective care to its entire population. The comprehensive care compared to the limited care access in the United States allows for more positive health outcomes overall in Italy’s population.


Cost of Healthcare in the United States versus Italy

Cost is the obvious biggest difference between the United States and Italian healthcare systems. The United States is known for having the most expensive healthcare system in the world, while Italy’s system takes a different approach. Italy’s healthcare system is mostly funded by taxes all Italian citizens pay. All citizens in Italy are provided medical services, for the most part, free of charge or almost.

While in the United States citizens pay heavy insurance coverage fees or detrimental out-of-pocket medical expenses. Americans tend to face boundaries when it comes to affording healthcare, and most face medical debt. These financial barriers do not burden Italian citizens the same way and are built into their system, so everyone has equal access to quality healthcare.

Comparison of Public Health Programs and Initiatives in the United States and Italy

As a whole, the United States and Italy face very similar health issues and challenges when it comes to public health programs and initiatives, but their approaches are where the differences lie. These differences arise from the respective healthcare system models creating separate techniques and ways to look at issues.

The United States is more focused on preventing the occurrence and prevalence of diseases. Also, while working on creating more access to healthcare for the United States citizens to aid in decreasing the occurrence of diseases across the country. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is the main agency that improves health outcomes in the United States implementing new programs and initiatives for Americans to follow. While Italy focuses more on comprehensive healthcare, mainly through the Servizio Sanitario Nazionale agency. They aim to create programs and initiatives based on Italian community health and preventive care measures. They aim to work against the same challenges faced in healthcare, with a slight perspective difference.

Cultural and Societal Factors Impacting Healthcare in the United States and Italy

Outside of the effectiveness and cost, there are cultural differences in how each country approaches its take on healthcare. It is important to understand these approaches as the patient, as it may affect your experience. Healthcare in Italy is considered a right for all residents, while in the United States healthcare is seen as a privilege.

Italy places a higher emphasis on comprehensive healthcare rather than individual. The doctor-patient relationship is more personal and intimate in Italy than in the United States. Italians tend to go to the same doctor their entire life, having full trust in their doctor’s options and advice. These relationships
allow for more personal and compassionate care. Italian medical appointments tend to be thorough and longer, while in the United States, they focus more on quick and effective appointments.


Ultimately, the United States has the best quality of healthcare to offer, but Italian healthcare is more affordable and accessible for all citizens. You now have all the information needed to begin your new journey in Italy, fully prepared for any obstacles involving healthcare. It is up to you now to make the personal decision to move to Italy considering all these factors. Understanding Italy’s healthcare system is important before moving across the world. While both the United States and Italy at the end of the day offer healthcare services, each system operates extremely differently. No system is better than the other and comes with its flaws and strengths. Knowing these distinctions allows you to make the most informed decision. Ensuring your safety and quality of healthcare is important when moving to a new home in a foreign country.

About the Author: Elizabeth Mayer

I am a junior at Miami University of Ohio pursuing a Public Health and Gerontology degree with minors in Global Health and Art History. I am studying abroad in Florence, Italy for the semester where I hope to increase my knowledge concerning Public Health and gain a deeper understanding of Italy's healthcare system.