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Willingness to Pay for Public Health Policies to Treat Illnesses

Ryan C. Bosworth (), Trudy Cameron () and J.R. DeShazo ()
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Ryan C. Bosworth: Department of Applied Economics, Utah State University
J.R. DeShazo: School of Public Affairs, UCLA

University of Oregon Economics Department Working Papers from University of Oregon Economics Department

Abstract: As the U.S. contemplates health care reform that may involve more publicly provided health services, it is important to understand the likely patterns in public support for, and opposition to, public provision of treatments that increase recoveries and reduce deaths. We find that support (and willingness to pay for these policies) differs for health threats which are more or less prevalent and when larger or smaller populations are eligible to participate, for different types of beneficiaries, and across policies which represent more or less of a long-term commitment of public funds. Within a stated preference survey, individuals expressed their policy preferences over alternative public health programs, as well as their time preferences over alternative time-patterns for disbursement of potential lottery winnings. Our central modeling contribution is a utility-theoretic specification that permits us to estimate public health policy preferences jointly with individual-specific time preferences. We quantify a variety of dimensions of significant heterogeneity but draw particular attention to the prevalence of (a.) an unwillingness to pay for these policies via income tax increases regardless of their benefits, and (b.) a very strong pattern of self-interest in determining support for different types of policies.

Keywords: Public Health Policies; Public Provision; Health Care; Treatment; Individual Time Preferences (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: H42 I18 Q51 Q58 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 95
Date: 2010-08-13
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-hea
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Journal Article: Willingness to pay for public health policies to treat illnesses (2015) Downloads
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