SA4F3      Half Unit
US Health Policy

This information is for the 2016/17 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Adam Oliver COW 3.06


This course is available on the MSc in Health, Population and Society, MSc in International Health Policy and MSc in International Health Policy (Health Economics). This course is available as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

The course is of value to those wishing to work as health policy analysts or health advocates after graduation, be that in academia, government, industry, or management and practice.

Course content

The course offers an understanding of the major issues in the United States health care policy debate, which is important given that the US health care system is the largest in the world, and that many of its policy innovations are exported abroad. The course is interdisciplinary in nature, covering historical, political, discursive economics and philosophical considerations, among others.  


10 hours of lectures and 15 hours of seminars in the LT. 2 hours of lectures in the ST.

Formative coursework

Students will be given a progress test at the end of LT -- this will be a 50 minute test in which they answer one essay question from a choice of three.  This is perfect practice for what the students might expect in the final exam.

Indicative reading

"The health care mess: how we got into it and what it will take to get out", by Julius Richmond and Rashi Fein (Harvard University Press, 2005); "The Politics of Medicare", Second Edition, by Theodore Marmor (Aldine de Gruyter, 2000); "The system: the American way of politics at the breaking point", by Haynes Johnson and David Broder (Little Brown, 1997); "The historical logic of national health insurance: structure and sequence in the development of British, Canadian and US Medical Policy", by Jacob Hacker, Studies in American Political Development (1998) 12: 57-130.


Exam (50%, duration: 2 hours) in the main exam period.
Essay (50%, 2500 words) in the LT.

The essay will be due for submission in Week 11 of LT.

Student performance results

(2012/13, 2014/15 combined)

Classification % of students
Distinction 2.5
Merit 85
Pass 10
Fail 2.5

Key facts

Department: Social Policy

Total students 2015/16: 21

Average class size 2015/16: 11

Controlled access 2015/16: Yes

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Self-management
  • Team working
  • Problem solving
  • Communication
  • Specialist skills

Course survey results

(2012/13, 2014/15 combined)

1 = "best" score, 5 = "worst" score

The scores below are average responses.

Response rate: 93%



Reading list (Q2.1)


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