Why is There No Cure for Health Care?

Undergraduate Course, Harvard University, Fall 2018

Semester: Fall 2018
My Role: Teaching Fellow
Instructor: David Cutler

Course Description

Around the world, billions of dollars are spent on health care treatments, public health initiatives, and pharmaceutical research and development. So why are we still not able to prevent preventable diseases, provide affordable healthcare for millions of people, and deliver cures for curable diseases? And what are the best ways to address these issues?

Because these questions are so large, we will focus our discussion around questions like: What steps should be taken to end the HIV/AIDS epidemic? How should prescription drugs be produced and sold? How should the United States reform its health care system?

We will explore how social scientists address empirical questions, the types of data that are available, how those data are analyzed, and the confidence with which causal statements are made. By the end of the course, you will be able to dissect a large question – such as how to reform American healthcare – into its technological, social, economic, and moral components, and weigh potential solutions according to these guiding vectors.