Spring 2008

Health Economics and Policy

Listed in: Economics, as ECON-40


Jessica Wolpaw Reyes (Section 01)


Health care poses many pressing public policy issues: Why do we spend so much on health care? Does it actually produce significantly better health? What is the appropriate role of government? Should the U.S. have a system of national health insurance? This course provides insight into these questions. We will start by assessing the important role of health care in the national economy (health care costs exceed 15% of the Gross Domestic Product of the United States) and by applying economic models to the production of health and health care. We will then study the structure of the health care market and the role of key institutions. Next, we will devote substantial time to the role of government, placing emphasis on the status of the uninsured population and on public provision of care to the disadvantaged. Finally, we will use this acquired knowledge to consider possibilities for national health care reform and to discuss the relative merits of current state reform efforts. Throughout this analysis, we will pay particular attention to the nature of health care markets, the anatomy of market failures, and the implications for current policy. Empirical results, current issues, and public policy will be discussed throughout the course. Requisite: Economics 11. Limited to 50 students. Second semester. Professor Reyes.