Scholars at the Milken Institute have published an estimate of the net value to American society of four types of diagnostic and therapeutic technologies recently introduced. Their conclusion? That the net benefit of these technologies adds up to $23.6 billion, and increases federal income-tax receipts by $7.2 billion. Table ES1 shows the results by technology.
Much of the benefit is due to increased labor-force participation, i.e., workers are more productive because of these technologies. I am more than a little wary of point estimates of such indirect benefits, but there is no doubt they exist. Indeed, I think the authors may have underestimated the benefits because they did not include the improvement in quality of life for (presumably retired) Medicare beneficiaries. This non-monetary benefit is just as important as the monetary benefit of taking fewer days off work. The fact that we finance it by taxing working people to provide the benefits to retired people is a separate issue.
(I should disclose that I was somewhat involved in this study before it was published. I was Vice-President, Research at the Advanced Medical Technology Association, AdvaMed, when AdvaMed agreed to invest in the research project.)