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Introduction to the U.S. Healthcare System


East Baltimore
1st term
Health Policy and Management
4 credits
Academic Year:
2021 - 2022
Instruction Method:
Class Times:
  • Tu Th,  1:30 - 3:20pm
Auditors Allowed:
Yes, with instructor consent
Grading Restriction:
Letter Grade or Pass/Fail
Course Instructors:
Daniel Polsky

Focuses on the organization, financing, and delivery of healthcare in the U.S. Contrasts the private and public sectors and examines the effects of market competition and government regulation. Examines the ways that medical providers are paid, and explores the major issues currently facing physicians, hospitals, and the pharmaceutical industry. Discusses several potential small and large scale reforms to the U.S. healthcare system and evaluates their likely effects on healthcare spending, quality of care, and access to care.

Learning Objectives:

Upon successfully completing this course, students will be able to:

  1. Apply basic economic concepts related to health insurance coverage
  2. Explain how both private health insurance and public health insurance are financed
  3. Assess private and public models of financing and delivery of healthcare services
  4. Analyze various aspects of the hospital, physician, and pharmaceutical drug sectors
  5. Evaluate the ways in which private and public health insurers reimburse medical providers, and the incentives created by different payment models
  6. Identify the various determinants of access to care for low-income and vulnerable populations
  7. Evaluate how specific policy proposals will likely affect access to care and healthcare spending
  8. Analyze current health care reform debates from multiple perspectives such as historical, economic, political and comparative
Methods of Assessment:

This course is evaluated as follows:

  • 50% Quizzes
  • 40% Final Exam
  • 10% Case Studies

Instructor Consent:

No consent required