The Economics of US Health Care
Chelsea Lensing, Assistant Professor of Economics
March 7, 21, 28
The United States spends more money on health care than any other nation in the world, yet it is far from being the healthiest country. Politicians on both sides of the aisle have attempted to fix the healthcare system through policy changes. However, as economist Thomas Sowell has written, “there are no solutions, only trade-offs,” and the healthcare industry is no exception. The road to the health care and insurance system in the US has been paved with well-intended policies that have been accompanied by unfortunate trade-offs, leaving us with a system that overcharges and under-delivers. While the issues facing health care in the US seem insurmountable, there are ways to improve it. This series, presented by Assistant Professor of Economics Chelsea Lensing, will equip participants with the knowledge to understand the economics of the health care conundrum and the tools to make informed opinions on policy-related matters. The first session will offer an overview of the health care system, health expenditures, and health outcomes in the US in comparison to other countries. It will also describe the different types of health insurance in the US and the economic issues that arise within those markets. Week two will address the effectiveness of the primary goal of healthcare and healthcare policy—to make people healthier. The final session will explore some of the trade-offs for proposed ways of improving our system, including optimal health insurance, Medicare for all, Direct Primary Care, and free markets.