In this course, we will examine issues that arise at the intersection of medicine, economics, and ethics, with a particular focus on contemporary controversies in health care policy and reform. We will address a range of issues, including especially: how and why many judge the current health care system to be failing; the effectiveness of the market as a means of distributing health care; how various theories of justice bear on the distribution of health care; the role of government in ensuring access to health care; how the practices, successes, challenges, and failures of the United States health care system compare to those of other capitalist democracies; and what we might make of the new health care law. In engaging these and other issues, it is my hope that you will be provided with conceptual and intellectual tools that will enable you to understand and critically evaluate recent (and still on-going) debates about American health care. The ultimate goal of the course is to enable you to gain some insight into what a health care system that controls costs, ensures quality, and upholds equity might look like.
The first half of the course will be concerned with foundational issues relating to the problems that drive, conceptual frameworks and issues that underlie, and ethical positions that inform contemporary approaches to health care policy and reform. Building upon this foundation, the the second half of the course will be devoted to the practical matter of examining and evaluating competing frameworks for approaching health care reform.
This course is interdisciplinary in character, and will address these issues through texts drawn from economics, public policy studies, political science, philosophy, sociology, and theology. This textual and conceptual diversity is crucial to enabling rich, multi-faceted responses to the central issues of the course.
- Teacher: Christopher Libby