Losing Patience: Examining Issues in Health Care

Jul 25, 2006Jul 27, 2006
B-339 Rayburn House Office Building


Session One: Tuesday, July 25th
The Economics of Health Insurance: Past, Present and Future
Dr. Stephen Parente
Professor of Finance
Carlson School of Management, University of Minnesota

Click Here to view Dr. Parents' powerpoint presentation.

Session Two: Wednesday, July 26th
Pharmaceuticals, Innovation, and Pricing Issues
Dr. John Vernon
Professor of Finance
Center for Healthcare & Insurance Studies, University of Connecticut

Click Here to view Dr. Vernon's powerpoint presentation.

Session Three: Thursday, July 27th
Medical Liability Reform
Dr. David Hyman JD, MD
Professor of Law
University of Illinois

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 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?

• What factors drive pharmaceutical pricing? Can drugs be made more affordable without stifling innovation?

• Why do millions of Americans lack health insurance? Can economic incentives help this problem?

• 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?