The philosophy of health economics

with Amber Petty and Emeritus Professor Rob Carter

Delivering healthcare and prevention interventions is an expensive business. How do we help decision-makers with limited budgets decide whether they’re doing the best they can with the resources they have? How do we decide what ‘doing the best you can’ looks like? And just what does philosophy have to do with economics?

Listen to "The philosophy of health economics" on Spreaker.

Health economics, at least the model that Professor Rob Carter talks about, isn’t only about  money. It’s also about the kind of communities we want to live in and what we decide to prioritise. Do we want everyone to access to a certain level of healthcare based on need, or on what they can afford? And how do we make those decisions?

“I was a bureaucrat before I was an academic, and what I thought was missing was economic advice provided in a way that was useful,” Rob says. “There are all sorts of ways in which governments make decisions, but how do we decide which are the best ways and the best decisions?

“We try to help decision makers work out how they can improve the relationship between costs and outcomes.”

Join Rob and Amber for a wide-ranging discussion that’s not all about economics, but takes a deeper look at how what our society values affects what role the government plays in healthcare and how we decide what health prevention interventions are important and who should pay for them.

Emeritus Professor Rob Carter is widely recognised for his expertise in the economic appraisal of health care services and priority setting, particularly in the area of health promotion, health technology assessment and pharmacoeconomics. Much of his evaluation work over the years has encouraged clinicians to work with policy-makers and academics to tackle important public health issues. In recent years, he has developed and implemented an innovative approach to priority setting that is bridging the gap between academic rigour and applied policy-making in major areas of public health, with a strong focus on knowledge transfer. His evaluation work on the initial Assessing Cost Effectiveness (ACE) study in cancer, for example, impacted on Australia’s national cancer strategy and contributed to the funding of subsequent ACE studies in heart disease, mental health, obesity prevention and the prevention of non-communicable disease.