Valuing health in Canada
How, who, and how much?
Author: Aneil Jaswal
Release Date: June 19, 2013
The issue that this paper addresses – namely which treatments and services are and should be publicly funded in Canada – is of enormous importance, both to patients themselves and also to the sustainability of Canada’s healthcare system. The discrepancies in coverage that exist within Canada are, rightly, considered by many Canadians to be unjustifiable.
This paper gets to the heart of the rationale for making coverage decisions, emphasizing, in particular the importance of considering cost effectiveness – in an absolute not a relative sense – and of explicitly including public input into the decision-making process. The author explores the increasingly used QALY tool – or, Quality Adjusted Life Years.
The process of determining coverage will continue to be fraught with difficulty. Monetizing health, effectively asking people to accept a financial valuation of their quality of life, raises ethical and practical issues. It inevitably pits patient groups against each other. Governments understandably do not relish this. But, ultimately, it makes more sense to lay out and refine a process over time, so that it becomes widely defensible.
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