Required for MPA Health students. This introductory course is designed to familiarize students with basic concepts and ideas concerning the distribution of health and illness in society, the organization of the health care system, and the relationship of one to the other. We begin by considering the evolution of the U.S. health care system and of health policy. We then present an international perspective on the U.S. health care system with an emphasis on the Affordable Care Act, alternative government roles, current challenges and the future of the health care system. In the second part of the course, we explore divergent perspectives for analyzing health and health care: clinical, epidemiological, economic, sociological/cultural and public health. In the third part, we focus on, selected issues in HPAM: the challenge of mental health, variations in medical practice and the quality of care, health care rationing and access to care. Finally, we conclude with a discussion of how practitioners in the field of HPAM should respond to the growing awareness of the social determinants of health and the growth of the medical-industrial complex for HPAM.
Class readings cover major topics in the study of health and health care delivery: the organization and financing of health care systems; cost and access to health care; health policy challenges and the Affordable Care Act; the roles of government in health systems and policy; the epidemiology of health and medical care, economic and ethical issues related to health care rationing, the social determinants of health. Along with covering these subjects, we emphasize the value of understanding diverse disciplinary perspectives, the challenges of meeting the varied (and often conflicting) needs and motivations of health care system stakeholders, and the ways in which the United States health care system differs from those of other wealthy nations.