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The significance of ‘severity’


This essay considers whether permitting the cost-effectiveness of healthcare to govern its allocation is ethically objectionable on the grounds that it fails to give sufficient weight to the severity of people’s health states. After documenting the popular sentiment that appears to support this criticism, the essay considers how to implement prioritising severity, focusing on Erik Nord’s work. The remainder of the essay scrutinises the ethical arguments supporting policies prioritising severity and challenges those who would prioritise severity to define a notion of severity whose prioritisation they can defend.

  • health economics
  • philosophy of medicine
  • public policy
  • healthcare economics
  • public health ethics

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