QALYS and the Integration of Claims in Health-Care Rationing

Health Care Analysis 7 (3):239-253 (1999)
The paper argues against the polarisation of the health economics literature into pro- and anti-QALY camps. In particular, we suggest that a crucial distinction should be made between the QALY measure as a metric of health, and QALY maximisation as an applied social choice rule. We argue against the rule but for the measure and that the appropriate conceptualisation of health-care rationing decisions should see the main task as the integration of competing and possibly incommensurable normative claim types. We identify the main types as consequences, rights, social contracts, individual votes and community values and note situations in which the contribution of each claim type is limited. We go on to show that the integration of (at least some of) these claim types can be formalised within the mathematical framework provided by non-linear programming
Keywords QALY  rationing  non-linear programming  consequentialism
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