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Survival vs. quality of life: a study of the Israeli public priorities in medical care


  • Shmueli, Amir


Public opinion has become one of the primary inputs in setting priorities, rationing and allocating health resources. The present study focuses on the priorities of the Israeli public aged 45-75 in allocating scarce medical resources between prolonging survival (the 'Rule of Rescue') and preventing a severe and permanent disability (quality of life). The findings indicate that the 'Rule of Rescue' is dominant for more than a quarter of the population even when death is postponed by only one month. More than a tenth of the population are ready to adopt prioritization by lottery. Economic condition, gender and health status have no effect on priority choices. The main determinants of the choices are age and religiosity, with older individuals more likely to choose random prioritization and religious people tending to prefer saving life even when the opportunity costs are high.

Suggested Citation

  • Shmueli, Amir, 1999. "Survival vs. quality of life: a study of the Israeli public priorities in medical care," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 49(3), pages 297-302, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:49:y:1999:i:3:p:297-302

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    Cited by:

    1. Aki Tsuchiya, 2012. "Distributional Judgements in the Context of Economic Evaluation," Chapters,in: The Elgar Companion to Health Economics, Second Edition, chapter 38 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    2. Finkelstein, Eric A. & Bilger, Marcel & Flynn, Terry N. & Malhotra, Chetna, 2015. "Preferences for end-of-life care among community-dwelling older adults and patients with advanced cancer: A discrete choice experiment," Health Policy, Elsevier, vol. 119(11), pages 1482-1489.


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