3.00 credit hours
Healthcare accounts for over one-sixth of the U.S. national economy and over one-eighth of its workforce, shares that have dramatically increased over the last 50 years. The rapid growth in healthcare spending has accompanied growing concerns about the quality and efficiency of U.S. healthcare delivery and persistent disparities in access to care. Are these concerns justified? If so, what can policymakers do - and what are they doing - to address them? The purpose of this course is to develop the analytical skills necessary for understanding how the U.S. health care sector operates, how it has evolved, the forces at work behind perceived deficiencies (in access, quality and cost control), and the expected impact of alternative policy proposals. These issues are addressed through the lens of microeconomic theory. Under this framework, outcomes result from the interaction of decisions made by participants in the healthcare economy (e.g. patients, providers, insurers, government), with those decisions governed by the preferences, incentives and resource constraints facing each decision-maker. This course should be of particular interest to students who envision future careers in healthcare delivery, healthcare management, pharmaceutical and device innovation, health insurance or public health, as well as other policy-oriented students seeking to understand the contentious issues in healthcare policymaking.
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