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The Cost of Hope – What is missing in Health Economics

This is a talk by Amanda Bennett who’s bio can found here. She is a twice Pulitzer Prize winner, the Executive Editor at Bloomberg News and the co-Chairman of the Pulitzer Prize Board.

In her recent TED MED Talk in 2013, she shared her story going through a seven year struggle after her husband was diagnosed cancer. I believe her view is representative of the majority of cancer patients and family who face tough choices like Amanda did. My question is – what is missing in health economics that we forgot to consider the value of hope? Like all “nonmarket” goods, it doesn’t have a price. It has an intrinsic value but is difficult to measure precisely and accurately. This is perhaps why, practitioners could not take “hope” into the consideration in a treatment. Because if we can’t measure it, we can’t evaluate it.

There is hope though. Hope for health economists to bring HOPE to patients through both theoretical and empirical research in the field of economics of health and the applications of subjective well-being in the optimisation of health outcome, which I mentioned briefly in my previous post.

To close, it is a great challenge for policy makers, especially health economists to design a health care system that actually encourages hope and the miracles it brings to patients at the end-of-life care.

Ph.D. in Economics with interests in Life Science, Behavioral Science, Health Economics Evaluation and Health Technology Assessment. Executive MBA student at The University of Chicago Booth School of Business in Hong Kong, graduating in 2020.

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