Monash University
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Maximising Health Benefits Versus Egalitarianism: An Australian Survey of Health Issues

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journal contribution
posted on 2017-06-08, 06:23 authored by Nord, Erik, Richardson, Jeff, Street, Andrew, Kuhse, Helga, Singer, Peter
Economists have often treated the objective of health services as being the maximisation of the QALYs gained, irrespective of how the gains are distributed. In a cross section of Australians such a policy of distributive neutrality received (a) very little support when health benefits to young people compete with health benefits to the elderly; (b) only moderate support when those who can become a little better compete with those who can become must better; (c) only moderate support when smokers compete with non smokers; (d) some support when young children compete with newborns; and (e) wide spread support when parents of dependent children compete with people without children. Overall, the views of the study population were strongly egalitarian. A policy of health benefit maximisation received very limited support when the consequence is a loss of equity and access to services for the elderly and for people with a limited potential for improving their health.


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Centre for Health Program Evaluation

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