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Health, health care, and economics intersect in important ways. Health is an essential component of individual well-being and a fundamental input to a productive economy, making its production a societal priority as well as an individual one. Health care expenditures make up substantial fractions of economic activity in developed countries; in the United States health care expenditures are nearly one-fifth of the national economy, raising questions of why health care spending is so high and whether the spending effectively produces better health. At the same time, health is about more than just health care; it is driven by many other factors, from individual behavior, to market forces, to government policy. In this course we will examine the economics of health by applying microeconomic analysis to the problems of health and health care provision. The course focuses on three broad areas: the inputs to health and the demand for health care; the structure and functioning of health care markets and the roles of key institutions; and the role of public policy in furthering individual and population health. Special attention will be devoted to topics of current policy interest, including health disparities, problems of health care costs and cost containment, health insurance reform and the Affordable Care Act, the role of public health interventions, and drug development and regulation. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought many of the challenges of health and health care into sharp focus, and we will examine the pandemic as a particularly instructive case study.
Format: lecture; The class is a mixture of lecture and discussion. I anticipate conducting the "hybrid" version of the course similarly to the in-person version, with students who are participating remotely attending synchronous lectures/discussions via Zoom.
Grading: yes pass/fail option,
yes fifth course option
Several short papers, participation in class discussion, and a final research project and presentation
ECON 110 and a class in statistics
Economics majors who have not yet taken a 200-level elective, Political Economy majors, and Public Health concentrators
PHLH Decision-Making by Institutions + Individuals
POEC U.S. Political Economy + Public Policy Course