Ideas About Resourcing Health Care in the United States: Can Economic Evaluation Achieve Meaningful Use?

William V Padula, Mark J Sculpher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The United States is one of the few high-income countries not to apply economic evaluation routinely to health care decision making on a national level, yet it excels at spending least efficiently on health care. In the interest of continuing to develop new solutions to curb spending on health care and reduce waste in the United States, perhaps now is an important moment to reconsider the benefits of economic evaluation and the barriers that must be overcome to have it emerge as a solution for health care institutions and the patients they serve. This article offers several distinct considerations to make economic evaluation methods (such as cost-effectiveness analysis) an effective component of value-based decision making in the United States. These considerations include overcoming the barriers presented by opportunity costs, spending on health care services versus biomedical technologies, phasing out low-value care, using value of information to prioritize resources, and determining what to do with the quality-adjusted life-year. These issues need to be addressed to achieve a collective purpose for economic evaluation at state and national levels.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)80-85
Number of pages6
JournalAnnals of Internal Medicine
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2021

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