Under the Knife: Understanding the Challenges in Health Care

Mar 28, 2006Mar 30, 2006
<p>B-339 Rayburn House Office Building</p>


Session One: Tuesday, March 28th
Understanding the Federal Regulation of Health Care Financing 
Dr. Don King MD, JD
Senior Research Scholar
Mercatus Center at George Mason University

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

Session Two: Wednesday, March 29th
Searching for the Perfect Health Care Solution
Dr. Arnold Kling
Adjunct Professor of Economics
George Mason University

Session Three: Thursday, March 30th
To Interfere, or to Non-Interfere - That is the Question: A Debate
Robert Goldberg
Vice President
Center for Medicine in the Public Interest

Ron Pollack 
Founding Executive Director
Families USA 

In most current public opinion polls, health care ranks as one of the top three issues facing our country today. Americans are as concerned as ever over rising costs, increasing numbers of the uninsured, and possible oncoming pandemics, such as the Avian Flu. To better understand these challenges, we must take a close look at how we got here.

During the 20th century, Congress enacted wide-ranging legislation authorizing regulations that govern all aspects of health care. Today, federal regulations influence the way health care is financed as well as the behavior of physicians, hospitals, and pharmaceutical manufacturers. More importantly, these regulations influence the care that patients receive. In conjunction with this course, the Mercatus Center will be releasing a new policy resource that provides an overview of these regulations and an analysis of their corresponding benefits and costs.

This course will use this new policy resource to provide an economic framework for understanding the federal government's role in our health care institutions. The course will also feature a special debate on the "non-interference" clause of the Medicare Prescription Drug Improvement and Modernization Act of 2003. Featuring Robert Goldberg, of the Center for Medicine in the Public Interest, and Ron Pollack, of Families USA, the debate will allow congressional staffers to explore this important issue and to critically consider its merits and drawbacks. Participants in this course will address such questions as:

  • In what way do federal statutes and regulations govern health care financing? What effects does the US tax code have on the way we deliver health care in America?
  • How does the payment structure of Medicare affect both patients and health care providers?
  • What do we want out of an effective health care system? Why is there no perfect solution?
  • What are the benefits and costs associated with the non-interference clause of the Medicare prescription drug act?