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June 26, 2018

QALYs in 2018—Advantages and Concerns

Author Affiliations
  • 1Center for the Evaluation of Value and Risk in Health, Institute for Clinical Research and Health Policy Studies, Tufts Medical Center, Boston, Massachusetts
JAMA. 2018;319(24):2473-2474. doi:10.1001/jama.2018.6072

The quality-adjusted life-year (QALY) is a health metric some people love to hate. Concerns include that QALYs are not patient focused,1 may be used as rationing tools by health insurers, and may be perceived as dehumanizing. The Affordable Care Act prohibits the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute from using cost-per-QALY benchmarks. The use of QALYs by policy makers to inform coverage and reimbursement decisions is controversial.

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