Distributing Health Care: Economic and Ethical Issues / Edition 1

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This is a new health economics textbook with a difference. It is based firmly in the discipline of economics and, as such, it fills a gap in the health economics market. But, unlike other texts in the area, it is very explicit about the distributive implications of economic models and it provides clear rathionale for public involvement in the market for health care. It separatesthe efficiency reasons for public involvement(based on notions of 'market failure') from the equity reasons(based on the views of society that health care should be distributed according to the notion of health needs rather than according to ability to pay).
The book illustrates the distributional aspects of money flows in the financing and provision of health care, and discusses who are the gainers and who are the losers under different financing arrangements. A central part of the book contains a discussion of those techniques that are increasingly being used to aid decisions about how to distribute health care. Beyond the parameters included in economic evaluation techniques such as cost- benefit analysis and cost-effectiveness analysis, the book discusses some key ethical issues that are relevant for decision-makers when setting health care priorities.

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Editorial Reviews

Doody's Review Service
Reviewer: Richard L. O'Brien, MD (Creighton University)
Description: The authors explore the uses of economics models and methods in making policy for the distribution of healthcare. They provide basic accounts of economic theory applied to healthcare distribution and include analyses of the ethics of distribution based on economics. They conclude that economists frequently make normative assumptions that do not take into account the values underlying healthcare systems.
Purpose: This is intended to provide basic instruction in the ethics and economics of healthcare distribution policy. The authors state their intention to determine how healthcare "should" be distributed in publicly funded health systems. They intend to examine how economists reason from normative assumptions and to compare those assumptions to the values upon which health systems may be based.
Audience: The audience includes economists and noneconomists. This is a good economics primer for noneconomists who are interested in health policy. I'm not sure how much impact it will have on economists, since it is much more economics than healthcare, although there is a chapter exploring principles of justice and fairness and their application to healthcare.
Features: The treatment is heavily weighted toward economics, introducing basic concepts of markets, how they succeed and fail, and different responses to market failure. Useful diagrams and formulae are employed when necessary to make or clarify important concepts. The authors explore the financing of health systems and how economists might analyze health systems and the values underlying them.
Assessment: This reviewer finds the book interesting, easy to read, and enlightening about economic theory and its application to healthcare. The authors acknowledge that the focus on publicly funded systems narrows its scope but point out that most developed nations have such systems. The subjects are presented in a logical, easy to follow sequence, each chapter building appropriately on those that precede it. Will it affect the behavior and attitudes of economists and policy makers? I wish I could be optimistic about that.

3 Stars from Doody
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780192632531
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 10/28/2002
  • Series: Oxford Medical Publications
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 168
  • Product dimensions: 8.30 (w) x 5.40 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

University of Sheffield

University of Tromso

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Table of Contents

Health care and health
Economics and efficiency
Justice and fairness
Efficiency motivated responses to market failures
Equity motivated responses to market failures
Providing health care: finance and regulation

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