I’m old enough to remember that, when Democrats were passing the Affordable Care Act through Congress, Republicans argued that they were tampering with the greatest healthcare system in the world. The argument I saw most often in comment threads and on cable news, if I recall correctly, went that a free market healthcare system made room for untold innovations in the medical space, taking care of more people with better, more efficient healthcare than in any other nation on Earth.
It’s pretty much impossible today to claim with a straight face that the United States has the best healthcare on the planet. If you Google “greatest healthcare in the world,” the first result is an article about the most developed public healthcare systems in the world which helpfully explains, “The US ranks 15th.”
The free market hasn’t kept pricing down, either. The New York Times recently caught one Texas firm charging over $2000 per coronavirus test. After the Times investigation, the firm lowered their charges to “just” $300. And some hospitals have charged patients $400,000 — or even over one million dollars — for lifesaving coronavirus treatments. The coronavirus pandemic has also put the lie to the idea that the American employer-based health insurance model is a good idea. As soon as businesses had to lock down to flatten the curve, nearly 27 million Americans lost their insurance, at the time when many of them needed it most.