PH210x United States Health Policy, taught by Professor John McDonough from the Harvard School of Public Health, is quite simply the best MOOC I have taken to date (and I have enrolled in quite a few, out of both personal and professional interest). The course is entering its fourth week tomorrow - I have to admit I only completed Week 1 so far due to other obligations, but I'm slowly catching up - and runs for a total of 13 weeks, requiring about 3-4 hours of work (mostly watching informative videos) about the US healthcare system.
Since my research is in healthcare finance, I like to think I know quite a bit about the ACA and health policy in the US today and the Health Policy Orientation Workshop in October and the National Health Policy Conference in February, both held in DC and organized by AcademyHealth, were a great help in getting a better sense of the system, but when it comes to teaching the basics of the health policy system, PH210x is a home-run. (Of course, part of the value of the conferences is also to interact with healthcare policy-makers, and MOOCs have more content-based strengths.) I also like that the "homework" questions are multiple-choices "check all that apply", instead of "pick the one answer that is true" that I have seen in other MOOCs (where I usually could guess the correct answer before watching the videos) or the "peer grading" system that other courses have put in place - I don't think peer grading works very well when the audience is highly heterogeneous.
Week 1 was an introduction to the US health policy system and the reform, presented by John McDonough. The topics on following weeks, presented by outside speakers, were Medicare (Week 2) and Medicaid (Week 3). Week 4 - online tomorrow - will be the basics of healthcare finance and payment, as well as private health insurance. Week 5 will be on quality - a topic of particular interest to health systems engineers. The whole 13-week syllabus is available on the course webpage on edX.
In summary, if you are interested in US health policy, I highly recommend that course.
- Health System Reform in the United States by John McDonough in the International Journal of Health Policy and Management.
- Congressional Budget Office report on Updated Estimates of the Effects of the Insurance Coverage Provisions of the Affordable Care Act.