Equality, Explicitness, Severity, and Rigidity: The Oregon Plan Evaluated From a Scandinavian Perspective
Hansson, Lars F.
Norheim, Ole Frithjof
Ruyter, Knut W.
Journal of Medicine and Philosophy. 1994 Aug; 19(4): 343-366.
This article is an attempt to evaluate the Oregon plan from the perspective of a Scandinavian national health care system. The Nordic welfare states are marked by a strong emphasis on equality. As an example of an egalitarian system we present the Norwegian health care model in part one. In part two, the arguments in favor of a one tier system in Norway are presented and compared to Oregon's two tier system. Although we argue, in part three, that a comparison of the degree of explicitness in the prioritization process shows that Norway has much to learn from Oregon, we do believe that the Norwegian system has some attractive elements that may function as an important corrective. In part four we present the Norwegian Guidelines for priority-setting and discuss the weight assigned to the severity of disease criterion. It is argued that the exclusion of information about the severity of disease partly explains the counterintuitive ranking of treatment-condition pairs in Oregon's initial method based on the principle of health maximization. A normative analysis of the conflicting norms of efficiency and equality of results is called for. The final part of the paper is devoted to the problem of rigidity. Henry J. Aaron has argued that the Oregon system is insensitive to inter-individual variations within each diagnosis-treatment pair. This objection is a severe one, since the system might end up treating patients unfairly on the individual level. To overcome this problem, we suggest a selection rule that should be more capable of dealing with the problem of rigidity.
Comparative Studies; Costs and Benefits; Decision Making; Democracy; Diagnosis; Disease; Economics; Evaluation; Government; Guidelines; Health; Health Care; Health Care Delivery; Health Insurance; Hospitals; Insurance; International Aspects; Justice; Life; Medicine; National Health Insurance; Obligations of Society; Patients; Prognosis; Proprietary Hospitals; Public Hospitals; Public Participation; Public Policy; Quality Adjusted Life Years; Quality of Life; Regulation; Resource Allocation; Selection for Treatment; Standards; State Government; State Medicine; Values; Withholding Treatment;
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