Health Policy and the Affordable Care Act

24 h
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  • 8 Sequences
  • Introductive Level

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Week 1 – Growth in US Health Care
Much of the impetus for health care reform is provided bythe need to “bend the cost curve.”  Overthe past few decades, health care cost growth has consistently outpaced overalleconomic growth, taking up an increasing share of our Gross Domestic Product (GDP)and government budgets.  We will discussthe factors that drive cost growth.

Live Q & A withDr. Emanuel
Dr. Emanuel will host a live online Q & A session ontopics related to health care and current events.

Week 2 – Structure of the US Health Care
How do Americans get their health care? Who paysfor it? How did the system we have today come to be?  These are some of the questions we will answerthis week when we look at the structure of the US health care system

Week 3 – Access to and Quality of Health Care in the US
Most Americans receive insurance through their employer orthe government (e.g. Medicaid, Medicare, CHIP). Before the ACA, approximately 50 million Americans did not have healthinsurance. This week we explore access to health care insurance, the profile ofthe average uninsured person, disparities in quality and outcomes, and the linkbetween insurance and access to health care.

Week 4 – Health Care Malpractice
In some physician specialties, as many as one in fourpractitioners a year have a medical malpractice claim filed against them,making this a matter of frequent public and policy debate. We will discuss medicalerrors, the workings of the malpractice system, liability insurance, and thecontribution of negligence and malpractice costs to the health system’s overallbottom line. 

Week 5 – History of health care reform; The ACA: An Overview
Health care reform in America has been 100 years in themaking, starting with Theodore Roosevelt and continuing through the Clintonadministration. We discuss past attempts at health care reform and why they metwith resistance. We then move on to an overview of the 2010 Affordable CareAct.

Week 6 - The ACA: Access to Health Care
The overview of the ACA continues with a discussion of the provisionsdesigned to expand access to health care. We will cover employer-sponsored health insurance provisions. This session will feature a guestlecture by J. Sanford Schwartz, M.D.

Week 7 – The ACA: Cost Control
This week we will discuss projections of health care costgrowth under the ACA, followed by mechanisms through which the ACA aims totackle health care cost growth.

Week 8 – The ACA: Health Care Delivery and Quality
The final topic ofthe course is the ACA’s impact on the quality and delivery of care. The ACA includesprovisions for institutional innovations, i.e. changes in how the systemdelivers care.  It also contains rulesand incentives for providers to cut down on mistakes and deliver proven,valuable care. This week will provide a forward-looking overview of what wewill change in the medical sector.




  • Ezekiel Emanuel - Department of Medical Ethics and Health Policy


The University of Pennsylvania (commonly known as Penn), founded in 1740, is a private university located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA. A member of the Ivy League, Penn is the fourth oldest institution of higher learning in the United States and considers itself the first university in the United States to offer both undergraduate and graduate degrees.


Coursera is a digital company offering massive open online course founded by computer teachers Andrew Ng and Daphne Koller Stanford University, located in Mountain View, California. 

Coursera works with top universities and organizations to make some of their courses available online, and offers courses in many subjects, including: physics, engineering, humanities, medicine, biology, social sciences, mathematics, business, computer science, digital marketing, data science, and other subjects.

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