course ID: 2020_cAEcon

Health Economics and COVID19: analyzing health systems in crisis


This day-long course draws upon the COVID19 crisis to show how the tools of health economics can be used to understand the health and welfare implications of how our health care systems are funded and organized. The day is built around three lectures and involves group exercises.

Who shall live? Making difficult choices when resources are scarce.
Economics is the study of how society uses its limited resources. Most of the time, scarcity feels like an abstract concept but in moments of crisis it becomes clear that there arenĀ“t enough resources to meet all demands. For instance, hospitals lacked sufficient ventilators to treat patients with COVID-19 and staff were faced with life and death choices. But resource availability is determined by decisions made at societal level. In this lecture, we examine how countries choose to fund their health systems and the implications this has on who receives treatment.

Coronavirus hospital built in a matter of days! Resource planning: how much capacity do we need?
Hospitals around the world quickly became overwhelmed with people showing symptoms of COVID-19 and needed to secure extra capacity. How did countries do this and how did they estimate their capacity needs? In this lecture we employ bed modelling to assess how to plan what staffing and physical resources are needed to meet future demands facing the hospital sector.

Your money or your life? The inter-relationship between wealth and health
Countries went into lockdown to prevent the spread of COVID19, temporarily prioritizing the health of the nation ahead of the wealth of the nation. In this lecture, we examine the implications of variation across countries in their lockdown responses on the health and wealth of their populations. We then consider the inter-relationship between health and wealth at individual level: are people healthier because they are rich or are people richer because they are healthy?

Andrew Street

Professor of Health Economics, London School of Economics (UK)