Inside the Classroom: Health Policy in an Era of Reform
By any measure, 2012 was a tumultuous year for the American health care system. In June, the Supreme Court issued its decision on the constitutionality of the health reform law. The ruling surprised nearly everyone by preserving one core feature of health reform, tax penalties for individuals who do not obtain health insurance, while threatening another feature, the significant expansion of Medicaid coverage. In August, presidential candidate Mitt Romney selected Paul Ryan as a running mate, thus ensuring that Medicare reform would remain a continuing topic of discussion. And throughout 2012, hospitals and physicians struggled to keep up with the pace of change in the health care industry.
Health Policy in an Era of Reform is designed for students who want to understand what all the fuss has been about. By the time the course meets in 2013, the elections will be over, and the tumult of 2012 will have subsided. Nevertheless, 2012′s health policy debates will be far from resolved. Should the Affordable Care Act be implemented, and if so, how? If not, what should replace it? How can the nation’s rapidly growing health care costs be limited without restricting health care access or limiting health care quality? What is the best way to confront the nation’s growing public health challenges?
Health Policy in an Era of Reform explores these questions and others. After a few introductory classes, we will examine specific issues in health policy, such as the obesity trend, pharmaceutical promotion, and health care cost control. For each issue, we will learn about the nature of the policy concern involved and then analyze the advantages and drawbacks of potential approaches to addressing it. Along the way, we will read court opinions, regulations, newspaper articles, and articles in health policy, medical, economics, and law journals, all of which offer their own unique perspectives on health policy debates. There is also much to learn from classroom discussion, which will draw upon the diverse knowledge and experience of enrolled students.
By the end of the course, students will have gained an understanding of health policy challenges that is both broad and deep. And they will have learned what all the fuss has been about.
-Professor Kristin Madison, School of Law and the Bouvé College of Health Sciences