Health Economics: Health and Medical Care Financing

In my last blog, I talked about the home exam for the first health economics course. I didn’t, even, say ‘bye’ hoping to be back soon with brief information about the course and thus here is the result of that plan.

May be some of you may not find it easy to have a clearer meaning of health economics. In short, it is a discipline that applies the theories and methods of economics to maximize health care outcomes from a limited input.

We started the course on October 7, in the afternoon. In the morning of the same day, we had an introduction to some HPEM staff members and all the courses in the program.

pic 1 20141007_112020
HEPM staff members giving program introduction

The first two weeks were devoted for microeconomics. This was mainly to help us easily understand the rest of the course. We had a very engaging lectures and classroom exercises, with a guest lecturer. I was getting confused easily but having group discussions with classmates has helped me a lot (thank you my group mates!).

In the third week, we get to the main subject matter of the course with the course leader (Prof. Clas Rehnberg). The longest time was devoted for the wide topic ‘health care financing and reimbursement’. i.e. we have been talking a lot about the relationship between health care service ‘custumers’, service providers and third party payers. I can say that the following slide is the most important slide of the course.

pic 2 20141119_112323
Economic relationships embeded in health care

It is possible to write several chapters, if not a book, departing from this slide. We had also other interesting topics that you may not easily learn from this figure. These include: equity in health, the pharmaceutical market, health systems in low and middle-income countries, etc.

In the course, we had one individual and one group assignment. The individual assignment aimed at giving us some skill of analyzing and interpreting equity in health from a given data set. I would say that knowing basics of excel would be good though you could have the chance to attend the excel classes arranged for the course. The group assignment was analysis and discussion of the health care financing and reimbursement in eight countries selected by the groups. It was a very important assignment that helped us digest the course.

The first health economics course has gone this way. I will be eagerly waiting the second one in the third semester. For those prospective students who lack the patience to wait, I would recommend reading the well-written text book (Morris et al., 2012).

The following are some pictures from the group assignment presentation session:

Canada 20141118_115742Germany 20141118_115405

Israel 20141118_110322New Zealand 20141118_120202


UK 20141118_115308


If you have any questions about the program or application related issues, feel free to contact me (

Bye for today!


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