Economic evaluations are increasingly used to inform decisions regarding the allocation of scarce health care resources. To systematically incorporate societal preferences into these evaluations, quality-adjusted life year gains could be weighted according to some equity principle, the most suitable of which is a matter of frequent debate. While many countries still struggle with equity concerns for priority setting in health care, the Netherlands has reached a broad consensus to use the concept of proportional shortfall. Our study evaluates the concept and its support in the Dutch health care context. We discuss arguments in the Netherlands for using proportional shortfall and difficulties in transitioning from principle to practice. In doing so, we address universal issues leading to a systematic consideration of equity concerns for priority setting in health care. The article thus has relevance to all countries struggling with the formalization of equity concerns for priority setting.

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Keywords Equity, Priority setting, Proportional shortfall, Resource allocation, Social value
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Journal The European Journal of Health Economics
Lawerman-van de Wetering, E.J, Stolk, E.A, van Exel, N.J.A, & Brouwer, W.B.F. (2013). Balancing equity and efficiency in the Dutch basic benefits package using the principle of proportional shortfall. The European Journal of Health Economics, 14(1), 107–115. doi:10.1007/s10198-011-0346-7