12 November 2012

Health, impartiality, and Social Policy Bonds

At a global or national level, Social Policy Bonds could target a combination of health indicators, including longevity, infant mortality and Quality Adjusted Life Years. One contribution to their enhanced efficiency in comparison with current health programmes would be their impartiality:

[A]t least 55 percent of people with lung cancer [in the US] either never smoked or no longer smoke; some quit decades ago. And yet, because lung cancer is generally associated with smoking, and smoking is an addiction and something only “morons” and “idiots” (to use Tea Party terminology) would ever, ever do, lung cancer does not get anything like the research funding from the National Institutes of Health that other cancers get, relative to the number of deaths it causes. There are no telethons or star-studded Hollywood galas, no race for the lung cancer cure, none of those weirdly cheerful “awareness” campaigns. Even the afflicted and their families tend to stay quiet—the stigma is too great. The You're-on-Your-Own Society, Katha Pollitt, 'The Nation', dated 26 November
 A Social Policy Bond regime would not discriminate between different causes of ill health, unless explicitly mandated to by qualifications to the bonds' redemption terms. Apart from being more recognizable as a fairer system of resource allocation, a bond regime's greater freedom to shift resources between different health programmes, and its incentives to do so, would lead to better outcomes with the same resources. See also this previous post.

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