The Singapore healthcare system has managed to achieve extraordinary results both in terms of quality and in terms of controlling costs. Healthcare expenditures in terms of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) are the lowest of all high income countries in the world!

What’s the secret? It is apparent that it is more than just the process of putting the right components together. It is also related to the spirit and philosophy of Singapore itself including the way it is governed and how it relates to the world at large.

Noted Harvard professor, biotech entrepreneur, and AIDS researcher William Haseltine in his study of Singapore found that the following three compelling qualities were woven into the fabric of the country:

  • Long-term political unity,
  • An ability to recognize and establish national priorities, and
  • A consistent desire for the collective well-being and social harmony of Singapore.

Haseltine describes the Singapore healthcare results as “Affordable Excellence”.

This is outlined in detail in his latest book Affordable Excellence; The Singapore Health Care Story: How to Create and Manage Sustainable Health Care Systems (Brookings, 2013). Download a free PDF copy or an e-Book

In the following video Haseltine highlights the lessons he learned and shows where they could be applied to the U.S. health care system.


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