Assessing community values in health care: Is the ‘Willingness to pay’ method feasible?

Health Care Analysis 5 (1):7-29 (1997)
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In this paper an economics approach to assessing community values in health care priority setting is examined. The approach is based on the concept of ‘willingness to pay’. Eighty two parents were interviewed with regard to three aspects of provision of child health services. For each aspect a choice of two courses of action was presented. Parents were asked which course of action they preferred and what was the maximum amount of money they would be prepared to pay for this rather than their less preferred option. WTP responses are acceptable to the majority of respondents and appear to ‘behave’ in accordance witha priori expectations. A method of assessing the influence of ability to pay on preferences and WTP is outlined. Preferences and WTP do not appear to have been unduly distorted by ability to pay. Use of WTP data does have the potential to provide health care purchasers and providers with information on intensity as well as direction of the preferences of members of the community.



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