Audio Interview

The economics of healthcare

Published on July 5, 2022   38 min
Interviewer: Today I'm interviewing Professor David Cutler about health care in the United States. Professor Cutler is Otto Eckstein Professor of Applied Economics at Harvard University. He also holds appointments in the Kennedy School of Government and the School of Public Health. There is a presumption that listeners will have read Professor Cutler's article "The World's Costliest Health Care, and what America might do about it" in Harvard Magazine, May-June 2020 before listening to this interview. Professor Cutler, what's the problem, and is there a cure or at least treatment that will improve the current condition? Prof. Cutler: Well, thank you for having me. The US has a number of problems in health care. I would list them in a few different categories. The first one is that we do not have a universal insurance coverage system. Unlike most other wealthy countries around the globe, really all other wealthy countries, and some middle-income countries. The US has never been able to do that and that's a problem because people can bankrupt themselves in the medical care system. The second problem is that the cost and quality of medical care is substandard. The US spends more than it ought to and it gets less than it should given what it spends. That's a big problem because the US is wasting a lot of money at a time