Even in health care the big explosion was 1900 to the 1960s, when life expectancy rose from 47 (only modestly above Roman levels), to about 70 (only modestly below current levels.)
That is from Scott Sumner and the post is interesting throughout, also see Scott's additions in the comments. It is odd that many people are citing health improvements as evidence against my arguments for a slowdown in progress for the median individual, when, as Scott's quotation indicates, the opposite is more likely the case. Scott is a very literal reader, in the best sense of that term, and thus he is careful not to confuse my claims with weaker and less defensible versions of related ideas (and there are indeed many of those).
Here is Michael Mandel, arguing that the innovation slowdown starts in 1998-2000, rather than the early to mid 1970s, and attributing it largely on the biosciences.