Friday, March 3, 2017

The value of health, and how to measure it

Valuing Health: WELL-BEING, FREEDOM, AND SUFFERING

Too often people talk about the value of health, and few are those that try to measure it. Now you have the opportunity to have a look at the book that summarises the state of the art on measuring health from different perspectives, clinical and research, epidemiology and economics (resource allocation). The implications of health in well being are explored, and the author says:
Valuing health states by their average consequences for well-being has the unfortunate implication that disabilities count as significant health problems only if the people who have them are significantly worse off than the people without them. With respect to disabilities, such as blindness, to which people adapt, this implication leaves the health analyst with a choice between asserting falsely that the blind necessarily have lower levels of well-being or asserting falsely that blindness is not a serious disability.
This unfortunate implication, coupled with the difficulties in measuring the value of health by eliciting preferences or by measuring subjective experience, raises doubts about the project of valuing health by its bearing on well-being, which chapter
10 explores. The value of health differs in important ways from well-being and indeed appears to be easier to measure than well-being.
And we all agree that health is a crucial factor for well-being, though its measurement is uncertain up to now.

PS. A wide review of the book.


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