Health Policy and Economics: Opportunities and Challenges

Health Policy and Economics: Opportunities and Challenges

Health Policy and Economics: Opportunities and Challenges

Health Policy and Economics: Opportunities and Challenges


Health economics has made major contributions to the development of health policy in many countries. This book describes those successes and looks forward to the major contributions that health economics can bring to bear on emerging policy issues in health and health care.

With contributions from internationally recognized researchers, this book addresses generic policy issues confronting health systems across the developed world. The coverage progresses from micro, patient level issues to macro, whole system issues including:

Determining cost-effective treatments
Fair distribution of health care
Regulatory issues such as performance measurement and incentives
Revenue distribution
Decentralization and internationalization of health systems

Health Policy and Economics identifies the major contributions that health economics makes to important policy issues in health and health care. It is key reading for policy makers and health managers as well as students and academics with an interest in health policy and health services research.

Contributors: Ron L. Akehurst, Karen E. Bloor, Martin Buxton, Karl P. Claxton, Richard Cookson, Diane A. Dawson, Paul Dolan, Mike Drummond, Brian Ferguson, Hugh Gravelle, Maria Goddard, Katharina Hauck, John Hutton, Andrew M. Jones, Rowena Jacobs, Paul Kind, Rosella Levaggi, Guillem Lpez Casanovas, Alan K. Maynard, Nigel Rice, Anthony Scott, Rebecca Shaw, Trevor Sheldon, Andrew D. Street, Mark Sculpher, Matthew Sutton, Peter C. Smith, Adrian Towse, Aki Tsuchiya, Alan H. Williams.


Peter C. Smith, Mark Sculpher and Laura Ginnelly

Health policy poses some of the greatest challenges for modern economies. the proportion of gross domestic product (GDP) attributed to health care is growing rapidly in almost all developed countries, yet traditional methods of financing health care are coming under strain. Life expectancies are increasing, but health disparities are an enduring policy issue in many countries. the providers of health care – especially doctors – are uniquely powerful interest groups that policymakers challenge at their peril. New technologies arrive at an accelerating pace, and there are often formidable pressures to adopt them quickly. and the expectations of an increasingly assertive citizenry grow steadily.

These challenges reflect an increasing need to deploy scarce resources to the best possible effect. Management of scarcity is a central preoccupation of the economics discipline, so it is not surprising to find that policymakers have turned to economists for advice. This book documents many of the successful influences of economic ideas on health policy. However, its more important purpose is to look forward to future policy challenges, and to assess the potential contribution economic analysis might make to addressing them. in doing so, we recognize that, when used as a basis for policy analysis in the health field, traditional economic methods often need to be complemented by insights from other perspectives. Where possible, we therefore seek to emphasize the important links with other disciplines.

Modern economics is usually traced back to 1776, when Adam Smith published The Wealth of Nations. That work irrevocably associated the discipline with the functioning of markets. However, in the intervening period, economists have sought to extend their . . .

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