Introduction

Many Americans complain that they do not understand the U.S. health reform law called the Affordable Care Act (or Obamacare). They are right, and the main reason is because most Americans do not understand the basics of the U.S. health care system and U.S. health policy. Featuring some of the nation’s foremost teachers and thought leaders, this course provides students with a basic and thorough understanding of the U.S. health care system focusing on access, quality of care, and costs. Students will learn how the system is structured, how care is organized, delivered, and financed, and how the Affordable Care Act will influence the future of the system. Students will understand the U.S. health policy making structure process at the federal, state, and local levels. Students who complete this course will be able to interpret current controversies around US health policy and develop informed opinions on future policy developments.

Meet The Author

John McDonough

John McDonough

Professor of Public Health Practice at the Harvard School of Public Health; Director of the HSPH Center for Public Health Leadership.

John E. McDonough, DrPH, MPA is a professor of public health practice at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and director of the School's Center for Public Health Leadership. In 2010, he was the Joan H. Tisch Distinguished Fellow in Public Health at Hunter College in New York City. Between 2008 and 2010, he served as a Senior Advisor on National Health Reform to the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions where he worked on the writing and passage of the Affordable Care Act. Between 2003 and 2008, he served as Executive Director of Health Care For All, Massachusetts’ leading consumer health advocacy organization where he played a central role in the passage of the 2006 Massachusetts Health Reform Law. From 1998 through 2003, he was an Associate Professor at the Heller School at Brandeis University. From 1985 to 1997, he served as a member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives where he co-chaired the Joint Committee on Health Care. His articles have appeared in the New England Journal of Medicine, Health Affairs and other journals. He has written three books, Experiencing Politics: A Legislator’s Stories of Government and Health Careby the University of California Press and the Milbank Fund in 2000, and Interests, Ideas, and Deregulation: The Fate of Hospital Rate Setting by the University of Michigan Press in 1998. His book, Inside National Health Reform, was published in 2011 by the University of California Press and the Milbank Fund. He received a doctorate in public health from the School of Public Health at the University of Michigan and a master’s in public administration from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard.

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