Health Care and Health Care Reform

"A Real-Time Examination of the Affordable Care Act"

Peter Hussey

In a new, 5-week elective offering, Healthcare and Healthcare Reform, seven faculty members co-taught a course designed to expose participants to the complexities of the U.S. healthcare system and the reforms that it is now undergoing. The seminar was the first time a Pardee RAND class was aimed at both students and the broader RAND community, and the first time a course was video-recorded and posted on the Intranet. Lectures were delivered from Santa Monica, Washington, Boston (and even Detroit — due to bad weather) and the course attracted a diverse group including students, faculty and researchers, with some sessions including more than 50 people participating in person or online.

Anita Chandra

The course gave participants an opportunity to examine issues in health care at the same time as the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is being put into place at the national, state, and local levels. Topics included the history of healthcare reform and the ACA, insurance coverage, health information technology, cost-reduction and quality improvement strategies, consumer responses, and the roles community and community-based organizations play. The course was co-taught by faculty members Susan Ridgely, Christine Eibner, Peter Hussey (pictured above), Chapin White, Mark Friedberg, Laurie Martin, and Anita Chandra (pictured at left).

Gery Ryan

"Why is this important?" asks assistant dean Gery Ryan (pictured at right), who organized the course. "First, this is the largest change to the U.S. healthcare system ever in that it will eventually have a direct or indirect effect on all the different stakeholders involved in the financing and delivery of healthcare. Second, the evolution of the ACA is going to play out over the next 20 to 30 years and will likely define the careers of many newly-minted health policy analysts. Finally, this makes for a great case study for policy analysts in that it allows us to examine complex reforms from multiple angles and with a diverse array of tools."