An Introduction to the Ethical Implications of Economic Evaluations for Healthy Public Policy

Public health actors analyzing policy options usually try to assess and compare the expected effects of policies on the health of the population. They can take on neutral brokering roles, simply providing the best available information to decision makers, or they can also engage in advocacy-related analysis. Whatever their role, those looking at policy options often try to answer — or are asked by others to answer — questions such as the following: Which option will result in broader social benefits, including but not restricted to health benefits? Which option will be less costly, financially, socially, and otherwise? Who will benefit and who will pay for each option, and when will these benefits and costs accrue? Which policy option will provide “the biggest bang for the buck”?

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