SHOULD THE U.S. GOVERNMENT AND INSURERS EMPLOY COST-BENEFIT CALCULATIONS IN DECIDING WHICH ILLNESSES AND PATIENTS RECEIVE COVERAGE? EXPLAIN.
The British government spends about $340 per year per Briton on drug costs whereas the United States spends about $800 per year per American. As The Wall Street Journal reported, Great Britain is struggling to find ways to curb rocketing health care costs: Millions of patients around the world have taken drugs introduced over the past decade to delay the worsening of Alzheimer’s disease. While the drugs offer no cure, studies suggest they work in some patients at least for a while. But this year, an arm of Britain’s government health-care system, relying on some economists’ number-crunching, said the benefit isn’t worth the cost. It issued a preliminary ruling calling on doctors to stop prescribing the drugs. The ruling highlighted one of the most disputed issues in medicine today. If a treatment helps people, should governments and private insurers pay for it without question? Or should they first measure the benefit against the cost, and only pay if the cost-benefit ratio exceeds some preset standard?93 Should the U.S. government and insurers employ cost-benefit calculations in deciding which illnesses and patients receive coverage? Explain.
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