Health Improvement vs. Treatment

Appeals to quality-adjusted life-years (QALYs) in medical resource allocation decisions are naturally supported by a broadly utilitarian view of the role of health institutions, i.e. as having the
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Appeals to quality-adjusted life-years (QALYs) in medical resource allocation decisions are naturally supported by a broadly utilitarian view of the role of health institutions, i.e. as having the purpose of improving social welfare (via health improvement) as much as possible.  But is that the right view to have? My colleague Mary recently pressed me on an intuitive alternative conception of healthcare as aiming at treating localized health problems rather than yielding global health benefits to patients.  Might that be a better view?When contrasting the views, two major points of difference seem noteworthy. The first is that the "Treatment" view depends upon (and reinforces) the commonsense distinction between treatment (restoring you to "normal" health) and enhancement (as going beyond "normal" health), whereas on the "Improvement" view, we simply consider the benefit to be gained from a given health intervention, with no need to compare it against any. . .

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