We spend much on health research. Here “We” means mainly pharmaceutical companies. To maximize your profit in that business you develop products that you can charge a lot of money for. Today the payer for and prescriber of drugs are different. Enough said.
The article does not address the quality of health care then and now. Nor does it question today’s availability and cost of 1950s quality health care.
I think we need an incentive to develop much less expensive health care. I have no objection to drug companies developing expensive drugs to sell to people who can pay for them. I do object to tax payers paying for expensive drugs that are prescribed by doctors with no incentive to save money and indeed no knowledge of costs. Perhaps governments can buy patents and put them in the public domain, but this does not work towards incentives for development of economical health service technologies.