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Health Systems and Reform: Comparative International Perspectives

Course Description

All health systems in the industrialized world are grappling with problems of cost, access, equity and quality of health care; and the trade offs between these objectives. Reforms based on promoting markets, managed competition, public contracting, improved management, and changing financial incentives are some important issues under discussion in most nations.  

This seminar relies on public policy analysis and political economy perspectives  to compare health systems in wealthy OECD nations and BRIC nations (Brazil, Russia, India and China) to analyze efforts at health care reform. The readings, lectures, and class discussions will make students more knowledgeable about policy options and policy changes in different countries. The instructor will also provide opportunities for students to pursue individual research projects and work with the instructor to submit papers for publication.

The seminar begins with an overview of how forces of “globalization” affect health system reform. Next, we focus on ideas, concepts and theories of health care reform. We then go beyond the OECD and controversial WHO approach to health system performance. We examine the politics of health system reform efforts and present case studies in selected nations depending on students’ specific interests. Finally, we will address the policy question of what the U.S. and BRIC nations may learn from the experience of these nations.


CORE-GP.1022, HPAM-GP.1830 or HPAM-GP.2836, HPAM-GP.4830

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