Big Ideas, Small Fixes: Improving US Health Care

At the 2024 SIEPR Economic Summit, health care experts discussed solutions to a concern that 75% of Americans share: How to make medical care affordable and accessible.
SIEPR 2024 Economic Summit-Maria Polyakova Photo credit: Ryan Zhang/SIEPR

Our colleagues at the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research (SIEPR) just held their annual economic summit and one panel of experts focused on how to make health care more affordable and accessible. 

Maria Polyakova, PhD, an associate professor of health policy and the Tad and Dianne Taube Healthcare Fellow at SIEPR, moderated the panel.

Before introducing the experts, Polyakova noted that Drew Altman, president and CEO of the Kaiser Family Foundation, wrote in a recent perspective that national health-care reform is not dominating the presidential election.

“At the same time, he also pointed out that Kaiser polls suggest that health-care costs are at the top of the public’s list of financial worries,” Polyakova said, adding that nearly three in four Americans—regardless of their political party—are worried about being able to afford health-care services. 

She added that national health-care spending stands at $4.5 trillion a year, just over 17% of the GDP in the United States. 

“That’s almost twice as much as in other wealthy countries, yet we tend to do worse in terms of outcomes,” Polyakova said. “So a discussion about the future of the health-care system today is as needed as it’s ever been.”

The panelists were Gui Woolston, the Medicaid director for the Connecticut Department of Social Services; Amy Finkelstein, the John & Jennie S. MacDonald Professor of Economics at MIT; and Todd Park, Co-Founder and Executive Chairman of Devoted Health.

Read the SIEPR Story

Go To Summit Homepage

Watch the Panel Discussion

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