The most frequent justification I see from the Left for increasing government involvement and control of the health care system is that the US spends more per capita on health care than any other country but apparently gets little extra benefit from the spending in terms of health outcomes**.
Intriguingly, the exact same statement can be made of the American education system, which is already nearly fully nationalized. We spend more per capita than any other country and get only middling results. I wonder why those who use high spending with modest results as a justification for rethinking the health care system do not come to the same conclusion for the public education system?
To some extent, the US spends more on education and health care because we think are critical and because we are wealthier. We spend on items way down the Pareto chart where we get less bang for the buck because we can. And to my mind, it's no coincidence that both health care and education are dominated by third part expenditures. Take the price value decision making out of the ultimate consumers hands, and, well, the whole price-value equation is bound to get screwed up.
** There are several reasons US often looks bad in these health comparisons. The first is that we have a lot of life-shortening habits (eating, smoking, driving, crime) completely out of control of the health care industry. So our lifespans are shorter, but control for those exogenous factors and our health care system looks among the best. Check out this data, which shows that correcting for crime and accidents, US has the highest life expectancy in the world.
The other problem is the data is often cherry-picked by academics sympathetic to the state health care model. As seen in the link above, we have the highest cancer survival rates in the world, and the highest life expectancy for people who reach 65. Even our supposed out-groups, such as black males, have higher cancer survival rates in the US than the average in most European countries. But you seldom see these metrics included in comparisons.
I also refer you to an oldie but goodie, showing how a study failed to correct for differences in lifestyles between countries.