United States Health Policy

Learn U.S. health care policy essentials

Join Harvard Professor John McDonough in this online course to learn the essentials of United States health care policy from some of the nation's top experts.

Featuring faculty from:
10 weeks
1–4 hours a week
Certificate Price
Program Dates
Start United States Health Policy Today.

What You'll Learn

Health care in America can be complicated. Most Americans might not fully understand the basics of the U.S. health care system or health care policies such as the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Featuring some of the nation’s foremost teachers and thought leaders, this course provides students with a basic and thorough understanding of the U.S. health care system focusing on access, quality of care, and costs. Students will learn how the system is structured, how care is organized, delivered, and financed, and the role of the Affordable Care Act in the health care system. Students will understand the U.S. health policy-making structure process at the federal, state, and local levels. Students who complete this course will be able to interpret current controversies around US health policy and develop informed opinions on potential future policy developments.

Please note that the content in this course was created prior to the implementation of the ACA.

The course will be delivered via edX and connect learners around the world. By the end of the course, participants will understand:

  • How the U.S. health care system is organized, financed, and governed
  • How to give examples of key system stakeholders and participants, public and private
  • How to describe the U.S. health care system's essential building blocks, including Medicare, Medicaid, private health insurance, medical care delivery, pharmaceuticals, long-term care, mental health, oral health, and public health
  • How to interpret contemporary policy controversies pertaining to each key U.S. health care system building block
  • The basic components of the Affordable Care Act
  • How to identify challenges associated with reforming the U.S. health care system

Your Instructor

John McDonough is a professor of public health practice and director of the Center for Executive and Continuing Professional Education at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

In 2010, he was the Joan H. Tisch Distinguished Fellow in Public Health at Hunter College in New York City. Between 2008 and 2010, he served as a Senior Advisor on National Health Reform to the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions where he worked on the writing and passage of the Affordable Care Act. Between 2003 and 2008, he served as Executive Director of Health Care For All, Massachusetts; leading consumer health advocacy organization where he played a central role in the passage of the 2006 Massachusetts Health Reform Law.

Ways to take this course

When you enroll in this course, you will have the option of pursuing a Verified Certificate or Auditing the Course.

A Verified Certificate costs $189 and provides unlimited access to full course materials, activities, tests, and forums. At the end of the course, learners who earn a passing grade can receive a certificate. 

Alternatively, learners can Audit the course for free and have access to select course material, activities, tests, and forums. Please note that this track does not offer a certificate for learners who earn a passing grade.

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