176116 Ethics and Health Inequalities: Are Preferences of Those Who Finance Health Expenditure Collectively Taken Into Account?

Monday, October 27, 2008

Jordan G. Panayotov, MEc MPH , Independent Centre for Analysis and Research of Economies, Melbourne, Australia
WHO states that all people have the right to the highest attainable health. The declared ethics is that all people are of equal value, irrespective of their personal characteristics. However, choices are inevitable, since resources are limited and less than the needs, i.e. always some claims are declined. The question is: “Which claims will be declined?” and more importantly: “On what basis some claims will be declined?” In different points of time and in different societies claims are declined on different basis. Today health expenditure is predominantly public in most countries. According to Pareto Optimality concept allocation of resources is efficient, if it is not possible to increase someone's benefit without at the same time decreasing another person's benefit. However, allocating limited resources based only on individual preferences of recipients means de facto acknowledging greater right to health for the recipients. Focusing on particular individual's health maximization effectively deprives resources from another individual. Does this mean that the right to highest attainable health of the former is greater than the same right of the later? Do people value one person more than the other? Health inequalities, being measurable differences in health status between people which are avoidable and unfair, are illustration for both: unethical and inefficient allocation of limited public resources. If preferences of tax-payers are properly taken into account, when by allocating limited resources some claims are declined, than the right of an individual to the highest attainable health should not be achieved by denying this right to others.

Learning Objectives:
1. Identify and Analyze possible recipients’ outcomes from different resource allocations. 2. Prioritize recipients’ competing demands for limited resources. 3. Evaluate possible recipients’ outcomes both: from individuals’ and public perspective.

Keywords: Public Health Policy, Health Disparities

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I work for improving efficiency in relation to health and I have developed a model, which was presented at 11th World Congress on Public Health, on several other international conferences, on 36th and 37th Annual Conference of Public Health Association of Australia.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.