This was originally posted in the Australia & Oceania Watch thread. Because it makes a point about health care in the United States, I have chosen to cut and paste it to this thread so that I may respond without derailing the other thread.
(Eacao) Yeah "Public healthcare" isn't inherently just better than privatised systems, or vice versa. These are very large policies that gobble large percentages of developed nations' GDP and need to be looked at in a little more detail. The whole "private!" vs. "public!" healthcare debate is simplistic. It depends on how each approach gets implemented and how efficiently they can be sustained. No point promising free healthcare if it's going to bankrupt the nation and raunt the entire population of taxpayers, similarly no point gunning for ever better efficiency via privatisation if the quality is crap (which is a dubious conclusion).
The linked thread cited by Eacao makes a valid point about no such thing as free health care. A straw man type argument if ever there was on. The conclusion is a little bit more balanced:
However, first, we will need to decide fundamental issue do we want the government to micromanage healthcare or do we trust the system in which the greed-driven doctors, clinics, and hospital competing for our money will better serve us than the government.
Still, even that misses the mark. Consider:
In 2016, administration accounted for 8.3 percent of total health care expenditures in the United States—the largest share among comparable nations. (see Figure 1) Countries with single-payer systems are among those with the lowest administrative costs. For example, administrative spending accounts for just 2.7 percent of total health care expenditures in Canada.36 OECD data also show that within a country, administrative costs are higher in private insurance than in government-run programs.37
Countries that have multipayer systems with stricter rate regulation also achieve much lower administrative costs than the United States.
Edit: There is also the comparatively high cost of drugs in the U.S.:
The federal government gives drug companies a monopoly through patents and FDA marketing exclusivity. And what do companies do with a monopoly? Both economic theory and lots of empirical data say that when you give a company a monopoly, they're going to raise prices until raising the prices reduces their margin.
What do we do in monopoly situations? We regulate. Every other country in the world regulates drug prices, typically through some formal process of negotiation. Only we don't.
Drug prices are excessive and unjust, and R&D costs don't explain the high drug prices in the U.S. We still have a lot of work to do to get those drug prices under control.