Professor Louise Russell discusses the science of making better decisions about health ...

Despite spending far more on medical care, Americans live shorter lives than the citizens of other high-income countries.  The situation has been getting worse for at least three decades.

In her paper,* "The Science of Making Better Decisions about Health: Cost-Effectiveness and Cost-Benefit Analysis," Professor Russell describees the main scientific methods for guiding the allocation of resources to health -- cost-effectiveness analysis (CEA) and cost-benefit analysis (CBA).

Her paper sketches the methodological progress of these two techniques over the last several decades and presents examples of how medical practice in other high-income countries, where people live longer, follows the priorities indicated by cost-effective analysis.

She also describes how CEA and CBA support democratic decision-making processes, which have themselves benefited from scientific inquiry.

*Publised in Emerging Behavioral and Social Science Perspectives on Population Health, edited by R. M. Kaplan, D. David, and M. Spittel, Washington, D. C., U. S. Government Printing Office, September 2015.

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