Equity in Terms of Healthcare: What Is the Opinion of the Public? A Review of Empirical Ethics in the Field of Healthcare

Valérie Clément and Daniel Serra

Table of Contents


Health care priority setting decisions should be informed by the preferences of the general public on whose behalf these decisions are made. The growing literature devoted to investigate people’s preferences on the principles that should govern health care rationing is reviewed. We first sketch out the ethical principles that have been proposed to prioritise the distribution of health care resources. Then, the methods used to elicit considered public opinion are set out. Finally, the main empirical evidences on people’s preferences are presented.


  • equity
  • health care priority setting
  • preference elicitation
  • Qalys
  • social value of health gains