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Maximizing health benefits vs egalitarianism: An Australian survey of health issues

Author

Listed:
  • Nord, Erik
  • Richardson, Jeff
  • Street, Andrew
  • Kuhse, Helga
  • Singer, Peter

Abstract

Economists have often treated the objective of health services as being the maximization 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 much 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 maximization 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.

Suggested Citation

  • Nord, Erik & Richardson, Jeff & Street, Andrew & Kuhse, Helga & Singer, Peter, 1995. "Maximizing health benefits vs egalitarianism: An Australian survey of health issues," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 41(10), pages 1429-1437, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:41:y:1995:i:10:p:1429-1437
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