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Are the Benefits of Medicine Worth What We Pay for It? 15th Annual Herbert Lourie Memorial Lecture on Health Policy

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Abstract

Is medical care worth it? Conventional wisdom says no, but my answer is emphatically yes. The benefits that we have received from medical advance are enormously greater than the costs. I suggest that public policy far outweighs the importance of cost containment relative to coverage expansion; we could in fact spend more and get a lot more for our health care dollars. In what follows, I talk about the costs and benefits of medical advance, focusing on two areas where I have done the most work: improvements in cardiovascular disease care and care for low birth weight infants. In each case, I present evidence that the benefits justify the costs, and discuss what that implies for public policy. I note at the outside that I shall be summarizing a large volume of research that I and others have done. I have compiled my views into a book, YOUR MONEY OR YOUR LIFE (2004, Oxford University Press), that the interested reader should consult.

Suggested Citation

  • David M. Cutler, 2004. "Are the Benefits of Medicine Worth What We Pay for It? 15th Annual Herbert Lourie Memorial Lecture on Health Policy," Center for Policy Research Policy Briefs 27, Center for Policy Research, Maxwell School, Syracuse University.
  • Handle: RePEc:max:cprpbr:27
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    File URL: https://www.maxwell.syr.edu/uploadedFiles/cpr/publications/cpr_policy_briefs/pb27.pdf
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    Cited by:

    1. Eytan Sheshinski, 2005. "Longevity and Aggregate Savings," Discussion Paper Series dp403, The Federmann Center for the Study of Rationality, the Hebrew University, Jerusalem.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health

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