Bursting Bubbles? QALYs and Discrimination
© Cambridge University Press 2018. The use of Quality-Adjusted Life Years (QALYs) in healthcare allocation has been criticized as discriminatory against people with disabilities. This article considers a response to this criticism from Nick Beckstead and Toby Ord. They say that even if QALYs are discriminatory, attempting to avoid discrimination - when coupled with other central principles that an allocation system should favour - sometimes leads to irrationality in the form of cyclic preferences. I suggest that while Beckstead and Ord have identified a problem, it is a misdiagnosis to lay it at the feet of an anti-discrimination principle. The problem in fact comes from a basic tension between respecting reasonable patient preferences and other ways of ranking treatment options. As such, adopting a QALY system does not solve the problem they identify.