Benefit

The gains, before costs are deducted, of any particular course of action, therapy, treatment, preventive programme and so on. In principle, these gains are valued by the total amount that individuals are willing to pay to acquire them (including any externally affected individuals who may not be the direct beneficiaries). In principle, again, since willingness and ability to pay are often correlated (and these are, in turn, correlated with health status), many economists are reluctant to attach any significance to individuals' willingness to pay, though, in principle, weighting systems might be adopted to compensate for unequal abilities to pay. Similarly, in principle, weights might be applied to different individuals when adding benefits accruing to different persons. In practice, owing to the difficulties inherent in undertaking these tasks, health benefits are left in non-monetized form, especially in extra-welfarism, under which health maximization is commonly taken as the social maximand. Partly because of these difficulties and partly because of the stated objectives of health policy in many jurisdictions, many health economists have directed their energies to the development of direct measures of health without seeking also to assess its monetary value. These factors also doubtless account for the popularity of cost-effectiveness and cost-utility analyses. See Assessment Quality of Life, Disability-adjusted Life-year, EQ-5D, Health Gain, Health Status, Health Utilities Index, Healthy Years Equivalent, Quality-adjusted Life-year, SF-6D, SF-8, SF-12, SF-36.

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