Off the Charts: Examining America's Health Care System

Jul 17, 2007Jul 19, 2007
B-339 Rayburn House Office Building


Session One: Tuesday, July 17th
The Massachusetts Plan: A Year in Review

Dr. David Hyman JD, MD
Professor of Law and Medicine
University of Illinois 

Click Here to hear audio from Session 1.

Session Two: Wednesday, July 18th
Medical Liability Reform: A Primer 

Dr. Don King MD, JD 
Senior Research Scholar
Mercatus Center at George Mason University 

Click Here to hear audio from Session 2.

Click Here to view Dr. King's powerpoint.

Session Three: Thursday, July 19th 
Medicare: The Coming Fiscal Challenge 
Dr. Andy Rettenmaier
Texas A&M University 

Click Here to hear audio from Session 3.

Click Here to view Dr. Rettemaier's powerpoint.


With ever-rising costs, stagnant quality, and tens of millions uninsured, many Americans are beginning to ask the question: Is the U.S. health care system the best in the world, or just the most expensive? The U.S. spends over twice the per-person average of other countries, but this high spending on health care has not translated into better care or better outcomes.

Facing increased pressure and scrutiny from constituents, many in Congress and at the state level are considering a variety of solutions to cure our health care ailments. However, because of the complex nature of this critical issue, it is easy to get lost in these proposals. To help clarify this topic for policymakers on the Hill, the Mercatus Center at George Mason University will host a three-day course to explore current health care issues facing Congress and the economic incentives and rules that govern them.

By providing an economic framework for understanding the problems currently plaguing our health care institutions, this course will allow congressional staffers to better analyze health policy concerns that cross their desks.

Participants will address such questions as:

  • What can economic principles and incentives teach us about the pressing issues in health care policy?
  • How does the Massachusetts Health Care Plan address current public concerns? What are some of the plan's benefits and drawbacks? How does it compare with other state based healthcare reforms?
  • Why is the cost of medical liability insurance increasing for doctors across the country? Is there a need for reform? If so, what shape should reform take in order to preserve incentives and safety?
  • What are the facts regarding the coming fiscal challenge facing Medicare? What options can policy makers pursue to deal with this impending challenge?