Free at the point of sale. The overall cost per person generally ends up being significantly lower then in, say, the US, since the government can drive down prices. Hence why the standard of living is higher in most of Europe now then in the US.
It is? Last time I checked folks in the US had larger homes and more real-estate assets then most of the EU (probably due to wealth concentration in major cities, an issue in the US too). And im constantly hearing complaints about how US costs for goods are far less than EU costs for the same thing (even before 20%+ VATs are added to the price).
Both systems have their benefits. Doing business in the EU is significantly more complex so the US has a much more vibrant small business community for example. They also have a much stronger tech industry and space industry. The EU nations tend to have better Healthcare and at a lower cost (to both the individual and the government). Plenty of folks would argue with me over that but the math is clear. Because medicare and medicaid (who manage the health of somewhere around half the nation) refuse to price negotiate with drug companies they pay massively higher rates for those drugs. For example, if Medicare paid the same price for humira that Denmark does they could give it US patients for *free* and still have tremendous savings. Instead right now patients spend between 500$ and many thousands per dose *and* Medicare pays more as well. Lose lose.
But no. Humanity doesn't compromise. A European says his system is flawless and Americans are stupid barbarians, and Americans say their system is flawless and Europeans are soon to be broke stupid communists. When the truth is we are all stupid and arrogrant little viruses replicating our way into oblivion.