The Economics of Health Care

Jul 13, 2004Jul 16, 2004

Schedule: 

Keynote Address: 
Dr. Mark McClellan
Administrator
Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services

Session One: Tuesday, July 13
Pressing Issues in Health Care: An Overview
Thomas R. Saving, PhD.
Professor of Economics
Texas A&M University

Click Here to listen to audio archive.

Session Two: Wednesday, July 14
Medical Liability Reform
Mark F. Grady
University Professor of Law
George Mason University School of Law

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Session Three: Thursday, July 15
Extending Medical Insurance Benefits to the Uninsured
Mark V. Pauly, PhD.
Professor of Health Care Systems
Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania

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Session Four: Friday, July 16
The Public Policy Dimension of Rising Health Care Spending
Mark V. Pauly, PhD.
Professor of Health Care Systems
Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania

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 Constituent complaints about the U.S. health care system are common in congressional offices: rapidly increasing costs, inconvenience, restricted choices and options, and millions of uninsured citizens.

At the same time, however, our health care industry continues to develop new treatments and innovations and attract the most skilled physicians from other countries. American life expectancy continues to climb as the quality of care improves. What do these conflicting images of our health care system mean for policymakers attempting to enhance the system and solve its problems? Can both descriptions be true?

Exploring the economic incentives and rules that govern health care decisions could shed some light on these competing realities. Policymakers who familiarize themselves with these incentives, and the consequences of changing them, will be better prepared to propose viable remedies to the health care system's problems while preserving its desirable qualities.

By providing an economic framework for understanding health markets and institutions, this four-day course will provide congressional staffers the economic foundation needed to effectively evaluate health policy concerns that cross their desks.

Participants in this course will address such questions as:

  • What can economic principles and incentives teach us about pressing issues in health care policy?
  • How does the market determine what level and types of health care services constitute "adequate" levels of care? What can government do to influence the outcome?
  • Why is the cost of medical liability insurance increasing for doctors around the country? Is there a need for reform? If so, what shape should reform take in order to preserve incentives and safety?
  • Why do millions of Americans lack health insurance? Can economic incentives help this problem?
  • How will rising healthcare costs and spending affect policymakers? What pressures will policymakers be faced with in the future?