Willingness to pay for publicly-financed health care: how should we use the numbers?
This paper addresses the question of how willingness to pay (WTP) values in health care evaluation can be used by policy makers. The way in which WTP values are used depends on from whom values are elicited and whether the good concerned is privately-financed or publicly-financed through taxation. Thus, four possible uses of WTP values are identified. The focus is on the two uses which arise in the publiclyfinanced situation. 'Conventional' use of WTP values, where the decision as to whether or not to provide a service depends upon whether or not WTP values are greater than total cost, applies only in the privately-financed, and not publiclyfinanced situations. The situations with publicly-financed goods are more complex. The use of WTP values for publicly-financed goods is justified and illustrated.