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Citizens and rationing: analysis of a European survey

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While many studies have reviewed the issues involved in rationing and priority setting within health care services, few studies have comprehensively analysed the views and attitudes of a significant stakeholder in the debate — the public. The aims of this paper are to discuss the issues involved in involving the public in rationing and priority setting decision-making; and to analyse data pertaining to citizen’s attitudes towards rationing and priority setting. The data analysed were taken from the 1998 Eurobarometer Survey, with specific questions pertaining to rationing and priority setting asked in six countries within the European Union: Germany; France; Italy; the Netherlands; Britain and Sweden. The review of previous studies and the analysis of the Eurobarometer data, focus on issues relating to funding for health care; the need to set limits in health coverage; the role of stakeholders in setting priorities; and the use of age, and other factors, as a criteria for setting priorities.

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