Public legitimacy of healthcare resource allocation committees: lessons learned from assessing an Israeli case study

Yael Assor*, Dan Greenberg

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: The National Health Insurance Law enacted in 1995 stipulates a list of health services to which all Israeli residents are entitled. For the past 20 years, the list has been updated annually, as a function of a predetermined budget, according to recommendations from the Public National Advisory Committee (PNAC), which evaluates and prioritizes candidate technologies. We assessed the legitimacy of this resource-allocation process as reflected in Israeli public discourse and its congruence with the accountability for reasonableness (A4R) framework. Methods: A qualitative analysis of public discourse documents (articles in the print media, court rulings and parliamentary debates (N = 119) was conducted to assess the perceived legitimacy by the Israeli public of the PNAC. Further content analysis of these documents and semi-structured interviews with stakeholders (N = 70) revealed the mainstays and threats to its legitimacy. Based on these data sources, on governmental documents specifying PNAC's procedures, and on data from participant observations, we assessed its congruence with A4R’s four conditions: publicity, relevance, revision and appeals, regulation. Results: The PNAC enjoys ongoing support for its legitimacy in Israeli public discourse, which stem from its perceived professional focus and transparency. These strengths are consistent with the A4R’s emphasis on the publicity and the relevance conditions. The three major threats to PNAC's legitimacy pertain to: (1) the composition of the committee; (2) its operating procedures; (3) its guiding principles. These perceived shortcomings are also consistent with incongruencies between PNAC's work model and A4R. These findings thus further support the empirical validity of the A4R. Conclusion: The analysis of the fit between the PNAC and A4R points to refinements in all four conditions that could make the A4R a more precise evaluative framework. Concurrently, it highlights areas that the PNAC should improve to increase its legitimacy, such as incorporating cost-effectiveness analyses and including patient representatives in the decision-making process. Hebrew and Arabic abstracts for this article are available as an additional file.

Original languageEnglish
Article number737
JournalBMC Health Services Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2022


  • Accountability for Reasonableness
  • Health Policy
  • Israel
  • Legitimacy


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