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Author's Name: Emily Lancsar
Date: Wed 06 May 2020

Emily Lancsar

Professor Emily Lancsar

Head of the Department of Health Services Research and Policy and Associate Dean (Policy and Practice) in the College of Health and Medicine at the Australian National University. Her broad research interests are in heath economics with particular interest in understanding and modelling choice, preferences and behaviour of key decision makers in the health sector, economic evaluation and policy analysis.

Emily holds a number of current and past ARC, NHMRC, ESRC, MRC, NIHR and EU funded grants and fellowships. She is a member of a number of government advisory committees including the Medical Services Advisory Committee (MSAC), the Economic Sub-Committee of MSAC and the Economic Sub-Committee of the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee. She is an Associate Editor of Health Economics and a past Vice President of the Australian Health Economics Society.

Prior to joining ANU, Emily was an Associate Professor in the Centre for Health Economics at Monash University. Joining Monash in 2011 represented a return to Australia from the UK where she held Senior Lecturer and Lecturer positions in the Department of Economics at Newcastle University. Emily also previously worked at CHERE in Sydney and at the Federal Department of Health.

Subject Area Expertise

Health economics, choice modelling

Website

Company website: https://rsph.anu.edu.au/people/academics/professor-emily-lancsar


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Responses (1)


Social Distancing Measures, May 2020

Poll 38

"The benefits to Australian society of maintaining social distancing measures sufficient to keep R<1 for COVID-19 are likely to exceed the costs"

 

Strongly agree

8

Costs include reduced economic activity, higher unemployment, and potential wellbeing loss from constrained social freedoms. Economic costs are appropriately reduced via strong economic policy response, particularly, but not exclusively, via fiscal policy. Another potential cost is secondary morbidity and mortality associated with the displacement of usual or non-COVID care, induced by supply side crowding out ? e.g. of elective surgery to increase COVID related health system capacity ? or by demand side delay in seeking usual care due to concern of exposure to the virus. However, the degree to which usual care has been displaced is yet to be quantified and likely mitigated by recent Government initiatives (e.g. introduction of Medical Benefits Schedule telehealth items, expansion of the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme continued medicine dispensing arrangements) and by the speed with which Australia ?flattened the curve? and was able to recommence elective surgery etc. The benefits importantly include reduced morbidity and mortality from COVID-19 (cases avoided and lives saved) and avoiding further economic loss associated with a second wave if R were not maintained <1. Keeping R<1 should also engender consumer confidence. Possible tradeoff between costs and benefits becomes sharper the closer we move to zero cases so another relevant issue is the timing and staging of easing of social distancing. The proposition could naturally lead to a desire to quantify relative costs and benefits. This leads not only to monetising the value of life (e.g. via value of a statistical life) and health (e.g. via monetary value of a quality adjusted life year (QALY)), but in doing so important to note that the value attached to life and health is normative and depends on value judgements of society and policy makers. Examples include different value of statistical life estimates applied in different contexts and differing monetary value of a quality life years based for for example on age, severity, proximity to end of life when that is considered premature, and the concept of "rule of rescue": perceived duty to save endangered life where possible, particularly where those lives are identifiable.

Strongly agree

8

Costs include reduced economic activity, higher unemployment, and potential wellbeing loss from constrained social freedoms. Economic costs are appropriately reduced via strong economic policy response, particularly, but not exclusively, via fiscal policy. Another potential cost is secondary morbidity and mortality associated with the displacement of usual or non-COVID care, induced by supply side crowding out ? e.g. of elective surgery to increase COVID related health system capacity ? or by demand side delay in seeking usual care due to concern of exposure to the virus. However, the degree to which usual care has been displaced is yet to be quantified and likely mitigated by recent Government initiatives (e.g. introduction of Medical Benefits Schedule telehealth items, expansion of the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme continued medicine dispensing arrangements) and by the speed with which Australia ?flattened the curve? and was able to recommence elective surgery etc. The benefits importantly include reduced morbidity and mortality from COVID-19 (cases avoided and lives saved) and avoiding further economic loss associated with a second wave if R were not maintained <1. Keeping R<1 should also engender consumer confidence. Possible tradeoff between costs and benefits becomes sharper the closer we move to zero cases so another relevant issue is the timing and staging of easing of social distancing. The proposition could naturally lead to a desire to quantify relative costs and benefits. This leads not only to monetising the value of life (e.g. via value of a statistical life) and health (e.g. via monetary value of a quality adjusted life year (QALY)), but in doing so important to note that the value attached to life and health is normative and depends on value judgements of society and policy makers. Examples include different value of statistical life estimates applied in different contexts and differing monetary value of a quality life years based for for example on age, severity, proximity to end of life when that is considered premature, and the concept of "rule of rescue": perceived duty to save endangered life where possible, particularly where those lives are identifiable.